How to deal with diaper rash in babies

Some times when a baby cries, it is hard to know for sure what the problem is. So it is the parent’s or caretaker’s responsibility to do several check-ups to find out if the infant is hungry, sleepy, or most likely, needs a diaper change.

However, if a baby continues to cry or seems uncomfortable when you wipe them, or irritated even after the diaper change, the kind of diapers used might not be suitable for them.

According to paediatricians, diaper rash is a generalised term signifying any skin irritation regardless of the cause that develops in the diaper-covered region, if the diaper is delayed to be changed, it can burn the baby and cause diaper rash.

Also, diaper rash is a common form of swollen skin (dermatitis) that appears as a patchwork of bright red skin on your baby’s bottom.


According to Dr Raymond Awazi, a paediatrician at Hôpital La Croix du Sud in Kigali, the main cause of diaper rash is failure to change the diaper as many times as possible, whether it is urine or stool. Both can burn the baby’s bottom.

“When babies start to eat solid foods, the content of their stool changes which increases the possibility of diaper rash. If your baby is breastfed, he or she may develop diaper rash in response to the food the mother has eaten,” states trusted online health website, Mayo Clinic.

Still, according to Mayo Clinic, your baby’s skin may react to irritation from a new product, for example baby wipes, a new brand of disposable diapers, or a detergent, bleach or fabric softener used to launder cloth diapers or lotions and powder.


In order to prevent diaper rash, Dr James Mandelik, a paediatrician at Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, says that mothers should always change their baby’s wet or solid diaper as soon as possible.

“After changing diapers, wash your hands well with soap and water since hand washing can prevent the spread of bacteria or yeast to other parts of your baby’s body, to you or to other children.”

He adds that you should be attentive if the baby has diarrhoea or is taking antibiotics because antibiotics can cause loose stool and more irritation, the more times you change the baby’s diaper, the better.

Mandelik, however, says that parents should check their baby’s pampers first if they are full before they look for other causes of diaper rash.

“Apply a protective ointment or cream, products containing zinc oxide or petroleum jelly should be applied while changing the diaper, sometimes a baby can even do away with a diaper if he or she is at home and monitored,” Mandelik adds.

For Awazi, parents should make sure that before dressing the baby in the diaper, their bottoms (thighs and buttocks) are dry.  

“If the rash is severe and worsens regardless of home treatment, bleeds, itches or oozes, causes burning pain while a baby is urinating or during a bowel movement, he or she must be seen by a doctor for physical examination so that he can decide the kind of treatment to be given according to injuries,” Awazi says.

Furthermore, rinse your baby’s bottom with warm water as part of each diaper change, gently pat the skin dry with a clean towel or let it air dry because scrubbing can irritate the skin more, Mayo Clinic advises.

“After changing diapers, wash your hands well as it can prevent the spread of bacteria or yeast to other parts of your baby’s body, to you or to other children but also, do not over tighten diapers because tight diapers prevent airflow into the diaper region, which sets up a moist environment favourable to diaper rash. Tight diapers can also cause roughness at the waist or thighs,” says Mayo Clinic.