Tips for Treating a Diaper Rash in Toddlers

The diaper area is a perfect environment for rashes to develop — moist, dark, and inundated by a never ending supply of pee and poop. But the causes of a diaper rash vary, and when parents don’t know the exact cause, treatments can are few tips to treat and avoid rashes.

  • Check the diaper frequently, and change it when wet.
  • Use a gentle perfume-free soap or even just plain water when cleaning the area. Make sure the diaper area is quite dry before putting on a fresh diaper.
  • Avoid wipes, especially those with fragrance or alcohol.
  • Let your baby’s bottom “hang in the breeze.” There is nothing better to dry out the area than taking the diaper off for a while whenever the coast is clear (e.g., right after cleaning off a bowel movement).
  • Consider changing the brand or type of diaper. Cloth diapers tend to cause fewer rashes because they don’t hold in the liquid as well. And some parents have better luck with one brand of disposable diaper over another.
  • Keep the diapers a bit loose so some air can come in and the area can “breathe.” Avoid plastic pants, which hold the moisture in.
  • When washing cloth diapers, put a half cup of vinegar in the rinse cycle to help get rid of alkaline irritants.
  • Use a protective barrier cream or ointment on the area after each diaper change. In general, those with zinc oxide give the best protection from irritation (but are a bit stickier). But often the less sticky petroleum products work just fine.
  • Consider an over-the-counter steroid cream to decrease redness and inflammation (but consult your pediatrician before using them).

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