Keep your baby comfortable: Experts provide effective strategies to prevent diaper rash

Know effective strategies to prevent and manage diaper rash, which can make your child cranky and irritable. Also, cloth or diapers?

ByChetana Belagere

Published Feb 05, 2024 | 7:00 AMUpdatedFeb 05, 2024 | 7:00 AM

Keep your baby comfortable: Experts provide effective strategies to prevent diaper rash

It is mostly known as a new parent’s nightmare — diaper rash! In the realm of paediatric care, diaper rash is a common yet distressing condition that affects numerous infants and toddlers.

Diaper rash — known as diaper dermatitis eczema in medical circles — is a common ailment troubling infants, particularly affecting their perineal and perianal areas.

Dr Abhiram N, a noted dermatologist from iSkin Care Clinic in Bengaluru told South First, “This condition is predominantly seen in infants due to multiple factors including moisture, constant occlusion, and irritation from urine and faeces.”

He added: “The immature skin of infants has very low tolerance, making them prone to rashes.”

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What makes it a cause of worry?

Abhiram explained that diaper rash could be exacerbated by superinfections or concurrent infections with fungi and bacteria, which could significantly trigger the condition.

The symptoms, often relayed by distressed parents, include itching and irritation, and manifesting as crankiness and crying in infants, signalling their discomfort.

Dr Divya Sharma, a cosmetic dermatologist and hair specialist who founded Divya’s Skin and Hair Clinic in Bengaluru, took to X to shed light on the effective management of diaper rashes.

She said awareness and proper hygiene practices were important in preventing and managing diaper rash.

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Cloth or diaper?

Several new parents apparently ask doctors if traditionally-used cloth is better than diapers for babies.

Doctors say that both are fine, but that there are certain precautions and directions that the parents or caregivers have to follow when using either of these.

Dr Sivaranjani Santosh, a noted paediatrician from Hyderabad, told South First that the first and foremost thing parents must remember was the baby didn’t remain wet or the bums didn’t remain soiled.

She said cleaning the area immediately was the first thing to remember.

“If they readily observe and immediately change the baby, then cloth is better. However, if the parents are not able to do that, then diapers are better,” said the doctor.

“However, even the diapers the baby soils must be changed immediately,” she added.

Sivaranjani also insisted that parents should consider environment-friendly reusable diapers.

Meanwhile, Abhiram said that any loose-fitting undergarments could be used during the day and diapers at night.

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Keeping baby rash-free

Explaining in detail methods to keep the baby rash-free, Sharma advocated always cleaning the diaper area from front to back — especially in girls — to prevent urinary tract infections.

She advised against using force on the foreskin of boys. She stressed ensuring that no moisture was left in the creases and folds of the skin, as it could be a breeding ground for infections.

She also recommended air-drying over pat-drying, and advised against the use of wipes containing alcohol or fragrance, suggesting their minimal use when water is not an option.

Abhiram said frequent changing of diapers, avoiding moisture by cleaning the faeces and urine properly, and limiting the usage of diapers in the mornings could be good hygiene measures.

He also insisted that the area should be washed with water rather than detergents during changing of the diaper as this could otherwise flare up irritated skin.

“Moisturiser will play a major role. It will act as a barrier and will protect the skin from infections. It will minimise entry of bacterial or fungal infections,” he said.

Parents can bring the child to either a dermatologist or a paediatrician if the rash does not subside even after three to four days of applying diaper-rash-soothing creams or anti-inflammatory creams.

Some rashes could be due to bacterial infection and might need mild steroid-based creams, like hydrocortisone, along with anti-fungal creams.

Abhiram also warned against some conditions that mimic diaper rash.

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A few tips

In general, doctors gave the following tips to parents to prevent diaper rash in babies:

  • Always clean the diaper area from front to back, especially in girls-prevents urinary tract infections from the faecal bacteria near the anal canal.
  • Never try to forcibly pull the foreskin in boys, which is fused for the first two to three years.
  • Clean the creases and the folds, making sure there is no moisture left. Moisture is a breeding ground for infections.
  • Use a sheet whenever you change the diaper in public places to prevent transmission of infections.
  • Air-drying is better than pat-drying. The latter is still preferred over rubbing or not drying at all.
  • Change immediately if the child soils the cloth or the diaper.