Nappy Rash

Nappy rash is a common rash that affects babies and children of nappy wearing age. In fact it is so common that over 50% of babies will experience it by the time they turn one, yikes!

What causes nappy rash?

The most common cause of nappy rash is wearing wet or soiled nappies for too long. Constant wetness and/or ammonia (a chemical in wee and poo) can cause irritation to the skin leading to the rash. 

Nappy rash can also be caused by friction from both disposable or cloth nappies, plastic nappy pants that stop air circulation, soaps, detergents or fragrance left on the skin from baths and on clean cloth nappies after washing. A chemical in some baby wipes called methylisothiazolinone can also cause nappy rash so be sure to check the ingredients when choosing a disposable wipe for your babe.

Interesting fact (and we aren’t throwing any shade here, because we are strong believers that fed is best) but breastfed babies actually have a lower chance of developing nappy rash as breastmilk based poo is less irritating to the skin.

What does nappy rash look like?

Nappy rash appears as a red, raw and/or inflamed looking rash around the nappy. Skin folds/groin folds are not usually effected and is it harder for wee or poo to get into these areas however nappy rash is sometimes seen on the lower stomach and back.

For children with lighter skin inflammation will appear red whereas for children with darker skin inflammation may be brown, purple or grey. 

Nappy rash can be painful and itchy and cause little ones to be upset and irritable. 

The good news? nappy rash can usually be treated effectively within a couple of days, yayyy. And to save you hours of death scrolling the internet, we have compiled the top tips to treat it quickly and effectively. 

How do to get rid of the nappy rash?

Effective treatment of nappy rash involves minimising skin contact with irritants and creating a barrier while skin heels. Here are some things you can do to help:

  • Check nappies hourly and change them as soon as you notice they are wet or soiled.
  • Make sure you wash your hands before and after nappy changes to reduce the risk of introducing infection via broken skin.
  • Because baby wipes can irritate skin, at nappy change time consider gently wiping with cotton wool, paper towel or a clean cloth that has been dampened with lukewarm water.
  • If possible, consider using high quality disposable nappies until the rash has healed. While we know cloth nappies are better for the environment they just don’t absorb moisture as well as good disposable nappies.
  • At every nappy change  and after every bath apply a zinc based barrier cream to stop moisture worsening the rash. Barrier cream should not be removed after each nappy change and should instead be applied on top. When applying barrier cream ensure it is thick enough that you can’t see the skin underneath.
  • Ensure your baby has a bath daily, use a gentle soap free wash and gently pat their skin dry.
  • Try and let your little one have as much nappy free time as possible, hehehe good luck! Our best tip? Cover your home in towels, all of the towels. If  your child is wearing nappies secure them loosely or use a larger size to encourage airflow.
  • Do not apply talcum powder or antiseptic creams to nappy rash as they can cause further irritation.
  • Acidic foods such as strawberries, citrus, pineapple and tomatoes can worsen nappy rash so consider reducing the intake of these foods during a flare up.

What should I do if I don’t want to use disposable nappies?

If you don’t feel comfortable using disposable nappies temporarily you could try using an absorbent cloth nappy insert in reusable nappies. You can also try and change your little one’s nappy as soon as it becomes wet or soiled and when washing cloth nappies ensure they are rinsed thoroughly so that your child’s skin isn’t irritated by washing detergent or bleach.

Does my child need to see a doctor if they have nappy rash?

In some cases nappy rash can be persistent and not respond the at home treatment. Alternatively your child may end up with a fungal or bacterial infection as a result of damaged skin and will require treatment with antibiotics hydrocortisone or an anti-fungal medicated cream. Your GP can do a swab test to see if nappy rash is in fact something more sinister. Take your child to the GP if:

  • You are worried for any reason
  • The nappy rash hasn’t improved in a week or appears to be severe
  • If your child is in pain, upset or distressed 
  • The rash has blisters, crusts or pimples
  • Your child is unwell or has an unexplained fever with the nappy rash

If you want to learn more about managing general illness in babies and children, as well as lifesaving first aid skills, book a course with us today…go on, we dare you!

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