Have you seen a toddler’s diaper area looking red and irritated? Chances are it is diaper rash causing slightly puffy skin which is warm to touch. Diaper rash does not make one a careless parent, it is a part of baby care especially in the first one year or so of the toddler’s life.
How do you spot a diaper rash? A few red prickly spots in the diaper region or tummy and thighs of a toddler are indicative of one.
A toddler’s skin is very sensitive. Even diligent parents have diaper rash issues with their babies. Anything can cause diaper rash – new solid foods with acids in certain foods especially at the time of weaning, toddler urine, wet and dirty diapers which has bacteria from the stool mixing up with the urine, sensitivity to chemicals used in fragrant diapers, detergent used to wash re-usable cloth diapers, baby talcum powder and lotion in the folds of the skin, wet wipes and tissues. Sometimes, breastfed babies also have diaper rash and it is possible that the baby’s skin is reacting to a food item that the mother has consumed. Diaper rash can also be due to a bacterial growth in the diaper region due to warm and moist conditions or nursing mothers on antibiotics which can trigger diarrhoea in babies and consequently, diaper rash.
Diaper rash is not a very serious problem. See a doctor if there are symptoms of infection like blisters, pus-filled pimples, oozing yellow patches, open sores or a fever , which a topical or oral antibiotic with an anti-fungal cream should take care. Otherwise, the following basic guidelines and precautions at home should sort the problem –
- A clean, dry and airy bottom and frequent diaper change even during the night keeps rashes away and helps a faster recovery; if possible, let the baby sleep without a diaper.
- Avoid wipes with alcohol or fragrance during diaper change. Instead, use sterilised cotton balls with water.
- No rubbing but just pat dry the diaper region.
- Use a good barrier ointment like petroleum ointment or petroleum jelly, lanolin products, and white zinc oxide to protect the baby’s irritated skin.
- New solid foods should be introduced one at a time to check sensitivity and adaptability.
- Avoid washing cloth diapers with harsh fragrant detergents and fabric conditioners; vinegar is a good alternative to eliminate alkaline irritants when washing cloth diapers.
- Breastfeeding is good for babies as it improves resistance and reduces dependence on antibiotics.