Despite a parent’s best efforts, babies still get diaper rash. Here’s how to make the best of an itchy, uncomfortable situation.

Diaper rash is a kind of dermatitis, a condition in which skin gets red or sore. This kind of dermatitis can happen after contact with a wet or soiled diaper. Symptoms of diaper rash often include:

  • bright red areas or red patches on the skin
  • red bumps, pimples or spots
  • red scaly areas on the genital area

Really bad cases of diaper rash may also cause open sores or blisters on the skin.

4 Tips for Taming a Bad Rash

Abigail Schachter, MD, a community pediatrician at Esse Health Tesson Ferry Pediatrics, recommends a few simple steps to help you avoid and treat diaper rash:

1. Change diapers often. This keeps skin dry and clean.

2. Clean with basics. Use fragrance-free wipes, or a washcloth or soft paper towel and warm water. A gentle, unscented soap may be used if you need some extra help, Dr. Schachter adds. And pat her bottom dry when you’re finished cleaning.

3. Create a barrier. Creams that contain zinc oxide or petroleum jelly keep moisture from a diaper from irritating your baby’s skin. Choose products with as few ingredients as possible.

4. Hang loose. Keep diapers loose fitting, especially overnight and during naps.

Call your baby’s pediatrician if the rash doesn’t get better in a few days or if he gets a fever. Diaper rashes can turn into bad infections if they get out of hand.

“Diaper rash is very common, even when parents are careful,” Dr. Schachter says. “Fortunately, most cases can be treated at home easily.”

Get help with diaper rash or other common childhood illnesses with our Kid Care app, available for iPhone and Android phones at


Expert Advice