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Pediatricians Tips - How to Prevent Diaper Rash

Diaper rash is a common problem for babies. Most types of diaper rash are caused by contact dermatitis, which is a reaction that the baby’s skin has to waste and bacteria. The second most common type of diaper rash is a reaction to bacteria that particularly prefers to live in skin folds, causing irritation. In most cases, mild diaper rash can be soothed by applying a zinc oxide-based diaper rash cream to the irritated areas.

When treating diaper rash of any degree, it is important for parents and caregivers to be vigilant about cross contamination between waste products, the cream, and the new diaper. In many cases, cross-contamination results from improperly cleaning your baby between diaper changes. However, applying diaper rash cream with unclean hands- i.e. not cleaning your hands between the diaper change and the cream application, can also result in cross- contamination. This is especially true if you are using your fingers to touch the cream after handling a soiled diaper. To avoid cross-contamination and help your baby’s rash subside quickly, make sure you are following these simple tips:

Clean Bottoms are Happy Bottoms: Once you’ve removed the dirty diaper, it is important to clean your baby’s bottom and other affected areas before applying the diaper rash cream or before touching their bottom to the new diaper. It is recommended that water and a non-soap-based baby wipe be used for urine alone, and soap should be used to clean fecal matter.  If fecal matter has spread to other parts of the baby’s body such as their back, which can happen with diarrhea, make sure to clean that area as well. It is also important to clean between skin folds to help ensure that no urine or fecal matter is left to contaminate the new environment. A disposable changing pad or a towel can be used to avoid contaminating the new diaper if the child needs to be set down between removing the dirty diaper and cleaning. Once your baby is clean, you can set their bottom down onto a clean diaper before applying the diaper rash cream.

Apply Cream With Clean Hands: If you’ve soiled your hands while removing a dirty diaper and during the cleaning process, take a moment to clean your hands with a baby wipe or, even better, with soap and water, before applying diaper rash cream. Once your baby’s bottom is clean, soiled hands can reintroduce the bacteria to your baby’s skin even before you apply the diaper rash cream. If you aren’t in a position to thoroughly clean your hands, you can use a SwipenSnap Diaper Cream Applicator which allows you to apply the cream without touching your baby’s skin.

Keep Your Applicator Clean: After you’ve placed the baby on a clean towel or blanket, gently apply diaper rash cream using your hands or a SwipenSnap Diaper Cream Applicator and snap the applicator cap shut to avoid outside contaminants. Remember to keep your diaper rash cream or the tip of your applicator away from dirty diapers, dirty hands, and dirty bottoms. 

Avoiding cross contamination, regularly changing your baby, and applying a diaper rash cream to your baby’s bottom should help clear up the diaper rash quickly. However, some cases of diaper rash are more severe, and others are not diaper rash at all. If your baby’s diaper rash isn’t getting better, spreading to other areas of the body such as the neck or trunk, or getting worse despite regular changes and diaper rash cream applications, you should take your baby to your pediatrician to rule out other problems. 

Works Cited: Borkowski, Suzanne. "Diaper rash care and management." Pediatric Nursing, Nov.-Dec. 2004, p. 467+. Academic OneFile, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A131761058/AONE?u=optometria&sid=AONE&xid=12d3f897. Accessed 25 Aug. 2018.


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