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What is diaper rash?

Diaper rash is an inflammation on the skin in the area where the diaper is touching the skin. It is commonly found in infants and kids less than 2 years. However, the condition is also found in people who are immobile or paralyzed.

Approximately all babies get diaper rash at least one time at some stage in the first 3 years of their life. The condition is, however common among 9-12 months old babies. At this age the baby is learning how to sit and they enjoy sitting for long. They also begin eating solid foods, which may affect the acidity of the bowel movements.

What are the causes of diaper rash?

The most prevalent cause of diaper rash is lengthened and continuous exposure to dampness/moisture next to the skin. Other contributing issues are:

  • The clogged surroundings caused by the diaper
  • Rubbing caused by friction or abrasion
  • Extended exposure of the skin to excreta and urine.
Clogged surroundings caused by the diaper:

For a diaper to work perfectly it should fit securely. This means there is minimal amount of air getting to the diaper area. As a result the baby’s skin tends to be heated and wet. This leads to higher pH around this area compared to other parts of the body. Too much wetness on the skin makes it susceptible to irritants leading to swelling.


Friction can wane the protecting barrier of the skin. Wet skin is more susceptible to rasping than dry skin. The wetness around the diaper area makes it vulnerable to abrasion. Friction between the diaper and the skin, and continuous swabbing and washing the diaper area encourages the skin to absorb irritating substances.


How to prevent diaper rash.

Diaper rashes are a serious concern for many parents. Some kids get at least one diaper rash in their childhood while others get it over and over. Parents whose kids get recurrent diaper rashes may have to use a different brand of diaper.  If you are using cloth diapers you could switch to the disposable ones. Also change brands of throwaway diapers or baby wipes and apply a barrier cream every time you change a diaper. Keep a symptom diary and find out if there is a connection between the diaper rash and a certain type of food the baby is eating.

Additional things to do to stop diaper rashes include:

  • Regular diaper changes.
  • Allowing the baby to stay without a diaper as much as possible (many babies love it).
  • Using a fragrance-free wipes
  • Using lukewarm water and a not so strong soap as an alternative to wipes
  • Using a squirt bottle when cleaning and avoid rubbing
  • Ensuring that the diaper area is totally dry before putting another diaper. It is advisable to allow the baby to stay for a while without a diaper every time you remove a diaper.
  • The best way to stop this problem is potty training your child. This is the most effective way of keeping your child dry.
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