What to do about nappy rash

Expert advice on the tell-tale signs of when nappy rash is about to strike


Up to one third of babies will suffer from nappy rash at some stage before toilet-training begins – and particularly when you’re spending long winter days on the beach and by the pool. Naturally, as parents, we will do everything in our power to avoid anything uncomfortable happening to our babies’ delicate skin. But knowing the common culprits, and how to treat it, can prevent it causing too much distress. Dr Puneet Wadhwam, from the Specialist Pediatrics department at City Centre Clinic Ibn Batuta Mall, gives us some tips.

What are the main causes of nappy rash?
The most common cause is the exposure of delicate skin to urine and fecal matter. However, your baby wearing a soiled diaper is not the only cause. Some newborns have sensitive skin that is allergic to the diaper itself, causing irritation and discomfort. Other allergies such as dry skin, eczema and atopic dermatitis can also be a cause.

What symptoms should we watch out for?
The main and most obvious is a red rash that itches and is painful to touch. Your baby is also likely to be irritable and cry more than usual. In severe cases, which present with infection, your baby can suffer from a fever and/or disruption in feeding and sleep cycle, which, in turn, makes them more distressed.

How does a doctor diagnose it?
Doctors will examine the baby and, as mums become more familiar with the rash, they will also be able to diagnose it by sight. Most cases are mild to moderate and can be treated at home with a good diaper rash cream. These are available over-the-counter and application can also be used as a preventative measure, even if your baby is not displaying symptoms of discomfort.

If you discover that the rash is getting worse or is not displaying signs of improvement with the diaper rash cream after two to three days, you should consult a doctor. Additionally, if the rash is causing enough distress to interrupt your baby’s usual routine – specifically feeding and sleeping – then seek a doctor’s opinion.

What are the best treatments for it?
The best treatment is to keep the affected area clean and dry, and to apply a thick layer of diaper rash cream frequently and after every change.

Any tips and tricks to avoid it?
There are a few simple measures that parents can take to help combat diaper rash. For instance:

– Make sure that the diaper is relatively loose fitting and skin can be in contact with air.
– Change diapers often, especially as soon as the child passes urine.
– Check that there is no fecal material left after each change.
– Keep the skin dry, especially after washing or wiping. Let the area air-dry if possible.
– Use a barrier cream containing zinc (such as DESITIN, which is formulated with zinc oxide) at every diaper change.
City Centre Clinic Ibn Battuta Mall (04 205 2777).

More from Kids, Health

Music Monkeys founder lisa irwin explains how encouraging movement through music-based activities boosts growth

Consultant paediatrician at Zulekha Hospital Dr Hassan Badr on how music can help little ones grow happier, healthier and stronger

The nutritious milk is set to hit supermarket shelves soon

From sunscreen to keeping cool, here’s how to safely have fun in the sun

Nutrition expert Banin Shahine of Fitness First offers a few tips on how to best manage the effects that fasting has on the body

Five doctors bring you their advice on keeping your little ones healthy and happy


Follow us