What Are the Symptoms of Diaper Rash?

Lots of babies get diaper rash. It’s very common, and it’s usually easy to treat.  Although it’s more common when the baby starts to eat solid food, it can happen at an earlier age, too.

Your baby may have:

  • A red rash
  • Red and scaly skin in the area that a diaper covers --- around the genitals and buttocks -- and where the diaper touches the thighs
  • More discomfort, especially at diaper-changing time

It may not affect the whole area that the diaper covers.

Call Your Doctor About Diaper Rash if:

  • Your baby has a fever.
  • Your baby is less than 6 weeks old.
  • You see no improvement after a few days of home treatment or anytime it seems to be getting worse rather than better.
  • Pus comes from your baby’s rash.
  • You see white patches inside the mouth that appear red after being wiped with a clean cloth. Your child may have a yeast infection called thrush, or candidiasis.
  • The rash is scaly and has a yellowish hue and appears not only in the diaper area but elsewhere on the body, such as behind the ears or under the arms. Your child may have a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis.
  • The diaper area is covered with blisters that leave shallow red sores. Your child may have impetigo, which needs treatment with antibiotics.
  • Your son's penis is swollen and red and you can't retract the foreskin, or you notice a greenish discharge from the penis. Your child may have a painful condition called balanitis, which needs treatment with antibiotics.
  • Your child seems irritable every time he pees. It may be stinging from the diaper rash, but it could be a urinary tract infection that needs treatment.
WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 12, 2017



Hoekelman, R. (editor) Primary Pediatric Care, Mosby, 2001.

FamilyDoctor.org: “Diaper Rash.”

HealthyChildren.org: “When Diaper Rash Strikes.”

Mount Sinai: “Diaper rash.”

© 2017 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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