When a baby gets a diaper rash, the sooner it goes away the better. The best way to get rid of a diaper rash or help to prevent getting one in the first place is to get to the root of the problem. Knowing the most common causes for diaper rash can help avoid future breakouts.
Many parents often wonder if they are at fault for the diaper rash. Diaper rashes are very common. Sometimes a diaper rash is caused by skin irritations that could have been prevented, but not every time. They also can occur for a variety of reasons that cannot always be avoided.
One of the most common and most preventable causes of diaper rash is diaper chafing. It can occur from having a soiled diaper or from the diaper rubbing the baby's skin. Soiled diapers can cause irritation to baby's sensitive skin. This type of skin irritation is very common and generally occurs when baby is allowed to wear a soiled diaper for too long.
Changing diapers frequently can prevent diaper rashes from occurring in this way. Being sure diapers are the proper size and are not too loose or tight can also prevent chafing from occurring.
Bacterial infections are also one of the more common diaper rash causes and can occur in various locations throughout the human body, the diaper area being one of them. Girls can get a yeast infection, which is one form of bacterial infection. There are also other bacterial infections that cause diaper rashes.
Impetigo is another common bacterial infection. Impetigo causes a blister-like diaper rash. Bacterial infections must be diagnosed and treated by a medical professional. If your baby's diaper rash does not clear up in a day or so, make an appointment with your child's pediatrician to be sure it is not caused by a bacterial infection.
Some babies have more sensitive skin than others or may have allergies that will cause a diaper rash. Some common allergens that cause diaper rash are food allergies, fragrance, dyes, elastic diaper linings and artificial cloth fibers. All of these except the food products can be contained in your child's diaper, clothing, laundry detergent, bath soap and even diaper rash ointments.
All babies respond differently. However, choosing fragrance-free and dye-free items that use only natural fibers and ingredients can help avoid this type of situation, as can avoiding foods that contain artificial coloring and flavoring.
There are a variety of things that can produce allergens. If your child is getting a diaper rash frequently, it may be due to an allergy. It is best to see the child's pediatrician to figure out what might be causing the allergic reaction and determine what to do to avoid it in the future.
Eczema can occur in all areas of the skin, even the diaper area. Eczema usually shows up as patches of red, scale-like skin. It can also appear in different forms. With eczema, the skin will generally be very dry. Eczema can be treated with fragrance-free and dye-free cream lotions or with petroleum jelly.
If the eczema is severe, your child's pediatrician may prescribe a steroidal cream or other prescription treatment. Whether the eczema is severe or not, it is wise to take your child to the pediatrician to have it examined.
Excessive moisture can irritate baby's sensitive skin. Changing diapers frequently can prevent this type of rash from occurring. Moisture can also develop in the diaper area if diapering or clothing is too restricting or the weather is too warm for baby.
Keeping the baby dressed appropriately for the weather and in fresh, clean diapers and clothes can help to avoid a diaper rash that is caused due to moisture.
Human skin, especially that of babies, is sometimes sensitive to heat. When the temperature is too warm, it can cause a breakout in the diaper area. Heat rash can occur in many places, including the diaper area.
Babies should be kept cool with loose fitting clothing and diapering in warmer weather temperatures. Bulky diapering can also cause too much heat for baby's skin in cooler weather temperatures.
The main objective is to be sure that baby is dressed for the weather without being excessively covered in the diaper area. Rubber diaper cover-ups can also sometimes cause excessive heat or even moisture.
Not every rash in the diaper area can be treated by the parent alone. Any rash lasting more than a day or so without improvement (or one that is bleeding or otherwise questionable) should be looked at by a licensed medical professional, preferably your child's regular pediatrician.
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A good diaper changing station must have safety, comfort, and convenience in mind. Everything you need to diaper the baby should be right there where you'll use it. With those factors in mind, here are some of the items I recommend as diaper changing station must-haves.
Comfortable Changing Pad
A comfortable baby is a happy baby. When the changing pad is comfy, baby can be more receptive to getting a diaper change. Just be sure that the changing pad you choose also meets safety standards. Safe changing pads will list the safety standards being complied with and should have the complementary label.
Check to be sure your changing table includes a safety strap. If not, it may not meet safety standards. A safety strap is necessary to prevent falls or injuries to the baby during changing.
Original A+D Ointment
Instead of diaper creams and ointments, I always found original A+D ointment to be the most effective. This seems to be especially true in infants with sensitive skin issues.
While I'm sure that having diapers in the diaper changing station area is a no-brainer, I couldn't leave it off a list of diapering supplies. Whether you use cloth diapers or disposable ones, be sure to keep plenty on hand. With cloth diapers, this means keeping up with laundering them and with disposables, make sure to always purchase extra. It’s always better to have too many than not enough.
Onesies and T-Shirts
Babies can go through onesies and t-shirts quite fast. I always have several on hand at the diaper changing station in case they are needed. These sometimes get soiled as often as diapers. So, changing them at the same time diapers are changed is a good habit to keep.
Baby toys are a great addition to the diaper changing station, as they keep baby occupied. This is especially helpful for babies who aren't too fond of changing time. Be sure that the toys at the changing station are different from the regular toys and that they are switched out every so often.
Like the diapers, this is probably an obvious recommendation. However, it also cannot be left out. Baby wipes are essential to changing a baby. Whether you go the natural route with homemade baby wipes or purchase store-bought disposables, keep plenty on hand.
Always make sure the diaper changing station is clean for your baby. Just like you would wash your hands before and after each use, clean the changing station that often as well. Be sure the cleaning supplies you choose are appropriate for cleaning in nursery areas.
Even if your baby is no longer a newborn, receiving blankets are the perfect size for covering the diaper changing station. They are easy to replace in between diaper changes and are thin enough so that plenty can be stocked for use.
It can be very convenient to have a diaper pail near the diapering area. Whether you use a system designed to seal away the diapers until emptied or a more simple design, choose one that will easily fit in the area without blocking the path to the baby or to essentials. This is true for both cloth diapers and disposables. Although, depending on the way you change and clean up after your baby, it’s sometimes more convenient to keep the diaper pail in or near the restroom.
*I originally published a version of this via Yahoo Contributor Network
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