Reviewed by Michael Smith on March 11, 2013


Steven P. Shelov, MD, MS, FAAP, Editor and Chief, and Tanya Remer Altmann, MD, FAAP, Associate Medical Editor, "The Complete and Authoritative Guide for Caring for Your Baby and Young Child, Birth to Age 5." Laura A. Jana, MD, FAAP, and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP, "Heading Home With Your Newborn, From Birth to Reality." "Your Newborn’s Skin: Rashes and Birthmarks."

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Video Transcript

All parents worry about diaper rash, but every baby is going to get one, sooner or later. We'll go over all that, step by step.

Oh, my gracious; that's all dark and green.

The first sign is usually redness, bumps, or raw skin that can appear anywhere on surfaces that come into direct contact with a wet or soiled diaper

baby's bottom, genitals, lower abdomen or inner thighs.

Get you all clean ...

Diaper rash crops up most often when: infants are not kept clean and dry; they eat certain foods that change their urine and bowel movements

Or; they develop diarrhea due to illness or as a side effect of antibiotics.

When a wet or dirty diaper is left on too long, urine and stool, and the diaper itself, can irritate and damage the skin.

It can become a vicious cycle and lead to other problems, including bacterial and yeast infections.

baby's coo

So how do you battle diaper rash? change diapers as soon as possible after the baby wets or has a bowel movement;

clean carefully with a soft cloth and water and avoid wipes that might further irritate the skin; and give the baby's bottom time to air out before putting on a clean diaper.

You may want to try a diaper ointment or cream that contains zinc oxide or petroleum jelly. If the diaper rash continues, check in with your pediatrician for further advice.

Most rashes go away quickly when you treat them, step by step. For WebMD, I'm Dr. Jennifer Shu.

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