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Diaper to Prevent Diaper Rash

By Lisa Merrill, MN, RN

Diaper to Prevent Diaper Rash

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You’re so careful when it comes to protecting your baby’s skin, you:

  • Keep her little bottom clean and dry
  • Change her diaper after every feeding and when it’s wet or soiled
  • Use a protective barrier cream when rash is present
  • Wash your hands before and after every diaper change
  • Launder baby’s clothes separately with infant-friendly detergent
  • Bathe baby with gentle cleansers and patting—never rubbing—baby’s skin dry

Yet that day comes when you look at your baby’s bottom and think, “Oh my goodness what IS that?”  You’re not alone in wondering what the red bumps, blotches and blisters on your baby’s bum may be. Rashes—and managing rashes like diaper rash—are parent’s top infant skin care concerns, according to results from a Healthy Mom&Baby poll at Health4Mom.org.

Thanks to newer, high-tech disposable diapers and disposable diaper inserts, experts say it’s possible to diaper to help prevent some forms of diaper rash, particularly contact dermatitis, which develops when baby’s skin reacts to urine or stool, or sometimes to ingredients in products you’re using on her skin or clothes, such as alcohol, dyes or perfumes. Even baby-specific products can cause reactions in some infants.

Follow the advice in our ABCDE’s of diapering to prevent diaper rash and you’ll be well on your way to helping baby keep her bottom dry, clean and healthy.


ABCDE’s of Diapering to Prevent Diaper Rash

AIR: Allow baby’s skin to air dry for as long as possible between changes and regularly give baby some diaper-free time.

BARRIER: Zinc-oxide diaper cream and petroleum jelly provide a barrier between the diaper and urine or stool while your baby’s damaged skin heals. Use at every diaper change if your baby develops rash frequently, and speak to baby’s healthcare provider about baby’s reoccurring rash.

CLEANSE: Always wipe gently and pat when cleaning baby’s diaper area—never rub while cleansing baby’s skin. Irritant-free wipes may actually be more effective than warm water when cleaning stool.

DIAPER: Use a super-absorbent disposable diaper or wrappers with absorbent inserts; avoid cloth diapers. Change your baby’s diaper as soon as it’s soiled or at least every 1-3 hours during the day, and once during the night.

EDUCATION: Take note when and how your baby experiences diaper rash and ask your nurses for their advice on preventing diaper rash for your baby.

TIP: Use a barrier cream at every diaper change if your baby develops diaper rash frequently.

Learn more about diaper rash in our new Parent Pages, online at http://www.health4mom.org/parents-page/.


Further reading: Debunking the Myths About Vaccinations.


Lisa Merrill, MN, RN, is a clinical nurse specialist at Women’s Hospital Health Sciences Center, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.

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