Diaper rash is very common in babies. It is often caused by not cleaning the stool off the skin soon enough since the stool is a strong irritant to the skin. Here is some care advice that should help.

Change More Often

  • Change diapers more often to prevent skin contact with stool.
  • You may want to get up once during the night to change the diaper.

Rinse with Warm Water

  • Rinse the baby’s skin with lots of warm water during each diaper change.
  • Wash with a mild soap (such as Dove®) only after stools. Reason: Using soap often can interfere with healing.
  • Do not use diaper wipes. Reason: They leave a film of bacteria on the skin.

Diarrhea Rash – Use Protective Ointment

  • If your child has diarrhea and/or a rash around the anus, use a protective ointment, such as Vaseline® or Desitin®.  This forms a barrier between the skin and the stool, helping the rash to heal.
  • Caution: Wash off the skin before putting it on.

Leave Bottom Open to Air

  • Expose the bottom to air as much as possible.
  • Attach the diaper loosely at the waist to help with air exposure.
  • When napping, take the diaper off and lay your child on a towel. Reason: Dryness reduces the risk of yeast infections.

Anti-Yeast Cream

  • Most diaper rashes respond to the above treatment within 3 days.
  • If the rash continues or the rash is bright red, suspect a yeast infection.
  • Buy an anti-yeast cream (such as Lotrimin®) and apply 3 times/day. No prescription is needed.

Raw Skin – Treatment

  • If the bottom is very raw, soak in warm water for 10 minutes. Add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of baking soda to the tub of warm water.
  • Do this 3 times per day.
  • Then, put an anti-yeast ointment (such as Lotrimin®) on the rash.

Pain Medicine

  • Age less than 3 months. Don’t use pain medicines unless your provider says it’s okay. Have your child seen if the rash is causing a lot of pain.
  • To help with the pain, give an acetaminophen product (such as Tylenol®). Avoid this medication if baby is under 2 months of age.
  • Another choice is an ibuprofen product (such as Advil®). Avoid ibuprofen under 6 months of age.
  • Use as directed.

Sore or Scab on End of the Penis Treatment

  • Use an antibiotic ointment (such as Polysporin®) 3 times/day. No prescription is needed
  • Reason: The sore is a bacterial infection that can cause painful urination.

Call Your Provider If:

  • Rash isn’t much better after 3 days of treatment.
  • It starts to look infected (with sores and scabs).
  • You think your child needs to be seen.
  • Your child becomes worse.

Because most diaper rashes do not require treatment in an emergency room, contact your health care provider or nurse call line prior to going. Of course, if it is a true emergency or life-threatening event call 911.


For more helpful information about life with your newborn, click below.