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.

Severe diaper rash could be bleeding, with raw skin.

When to Call Your Doctor

  • 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.

What Else It Might Be

Your child may be fussy every time they pee because the diaper rash stings, but that could also mean a urinary tract infection needs treatment.

If you see white patches inside their mouth that look red after you wipe them with a clean cloth, your child may have a yeast infection called thrush or candidiasis.

A scaly, yellowish rash in the diaper area and elsewhere on the body, such as behind their ears or under their arms, could be a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis.

When the diaper area is covered with blisters that leave shallow red sores, your child may have impetigo, which needs antibiotics to treat it.

Your son may need antibiotics if his penis is swollen and red and you can't retract the foreskin, or you notice a greenish discharge from it. He may have a painful condition called balanitis.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 12, 2017

Sources

SOURCES: 

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

FamilyDoctor.org: “Diaper Rash.”

HealthyChildren.org: “When Diaper Rash Strikes.”

Mount Sinai: “Diaper rash.”

Seattle Children's Hospital: "Should Your Child See A Doctor? Diaper Rash."

© 2017 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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