January 16, 2013 – All children, sometime or other, suffer from diaper rash and it can be mildly discomforting or very painful for your little one.
Diaper rash is a type of dermatitis or inflammation of the skin caused by the moist, warm and enclosed environment of a soiled diaper combined with bacteria. Blotchy red skin that looks like it has been burned is a classic sign of diaper rash. Here is a list of possible factors that can contribute to diaper rash.
- Skin allergies
- Poor laundering of diapers
- New manufacturing materials in diapers
- Infrequent diaper changes
- Hot, humid weather
- Chafing from tight fitting diapers or clothing
- When you start feeding your baby solid foods, bacteria and other organisms in the stool may cause irritation.
- Introducing a new food item to your baby's diet may cause diarrhea, which can cause irritation.
Home remedies for diaper rash are recommended as more effective than creams and ointments that can be purchased at the store. Here are a few suggestions you might consider.
Allow your child to have 'diaper free' time every day. By doing this the fungus that causes diaper rash will, with time, heal naturally. Place a changing pad or mattress protecting sheet on the crib mattress or on the floor as a precaution.
The cornstarch remedy has been used for decades to treat diaper rash. After 'patting' dry your baby’s bottom sprinkle some cornstarch on the rash.
If your baby's skin is very irritated, prepare a solution of 2 tablespoons of baking soda and warm water in a baby tub and let your baby soak for 10 minutes – 3 times a day. Do not bathe your baby in a tub until the umbilical cord has fallen off, and never leave a child unattended.
Zinc Oxide Cream
The active ingredient in most over-the-counter diaper remedies is zinc oxide, which helps to create a barrier on the affected rash area preventing further growth of fungus.
If your baby’s diaper rash does not respond to conventional treatments, he/she may have a yeast infection (also called thrush). Yeast rashes usually appear towards the front of your baby’s genital area where they urinate. If this is the case, see your paediatrician and apply a special ointment specifically designed for yeast rash.
Always consult your paediatrician before trying home remedies.
Things You Can Do to Prevent Diaper Rash
- Change your baby's diaper when it is soiled.
- If a diaper is too tight air cannot flow through it, which creates the perfect environment for trapped moisture and irritating your baby's skin.
- Keep the skin around the diaper area clean with warm water and soft washcloth to prevent bacteria from spreading. Only use a mild soap if the area is very soiled. Dry the area thoroughly with a clean towel by patting dry - not rubbing or wiping.
- Don't use wipes that contain alcohol, propylene glycol or fragrances because they can irritate your baby's skin.
- Wash your hands after a diaper change so as not to spread any bacteria.
- Use a superabsorbent disposable diaper with Absorbent Gelling Material (AGM), which pulls moisture away from the skin.
- If you suspect that the gelling material in disposable diapers could be irritating your child's skin switch brands and read all manufacturer labels carefully. If the diaper rash persists, you may want to consider cloth diapers.
- If you use cloth diapers avoid plastic pants because they tend to trap moisture.
- Pre-soak heavily soiled diapers, and wash them in hot water with a mild detergent. Consider rinsing them twice to make sure they're thoroughly clean.
- Avoid fabric softeners with fragrances because they can irritate your child's skin.
- If you use a diaper service, ask them to follow these guidelines to keep your baby healthy and happy.
Healthy Advantages of Using Cloth Diapers
"A baby's skin is much thinner than adult's skin and therefore more vulnerable and permeable allowing chemicals in diapers to be absorbed easily through the skin," says Susan Turnbull, owner of 'Baby Due'. "Take into consideration that a diaper is wrapped on a baby 24 hours a day – 7 days a week for the first few years of their precious lives," she adds.
Babies do not sense wetness in disposable diapers so they tend to stay in them longer, which means less diaper changes but makes toilet training more difficult because babies don't have a natural urge to be free of that environment. "It's as if we're teaching our children that they can stay very comfortable in disposable diapers for a much longer period of time. The average age for babies to wear disposable diapers is one to two years longer than cloth diapers, says Susan Turnbull.
Cloth diapers are free from chlorine bleach, dioxin, sodium polyacrylate (absorbent polymer), synthetic fragrances (phthalates that are hormone disruptors), phosphates and wood pulp.