Nappy rash and urine scald
Nappy rash is a red, irritating skin rash in the area which is covered by the nappy. It may also be called urine scald.
What causes nappy rash?
Nappy rash is caused by urine and faeces sitting close to the skin for extended periods of time.
Almost all children will have at least one episode of nappy rash in their lives. It is very common and does not mean that you have not been caring for your child.
Some parents report that their child's nappy rash is worse when they are teething, if they use disposable nappies or if they use cloth nappies, or if they use certain types of soaps or detergents when washing the nappies.
What is the treatment?
The nappy area should be kept clean and dry as much as possible. It is advisable to change nappies frequently. Some people find using cloth nappies better than disposables, for others it makes no difference. You will need to experiment to find out what suits your baby.
If using cloth nappies, ensure that you use a natural non-chemical detergent. If soaked in a natural nappy soaking agent, the nappies should be well rinsed.
At each nappy change wash the buttocks and surrounding area with warm water using a soft cloth. Carefully pat dry and follow the intructions found here.
Other important points
Remember, it is not unusual for babies to get a nappy rash and most parents/caregivers become familiar and expert at treating the condition. Talk to other mothers and get their tried and tested tips. They will also be valuable support for you.
If you use baby-sitters make sure they know your routine about nappy changing. Contact your doctor, practice nurse or Plunket nurse if the rash is getting worse after three or four days.
Be wary of disposable baby wipes if your child has a nappy rash, especially if it is raw and the skin is broken. They may contain a perfume and may sting if applied to broken skin.
Many commercially available nappy rash creams contain peanut or arachis oil, often undeclared on the label. Both Pot of Gold baby balm and Pot of Gold skin balm do not contain any peanut or arachis oil and are safe for people with these allergies.
Prevention is the best course of action
- rinse soiled nappies immediately in cold water before washing
- wash the nappies in a normal hot wash in the washing machine
- make sure they are rinsed well before drying
- put the nappies on the washing line whenever possible rather than in the dryer. Sunshine and fresh air are great germ killers!
For further information and support talk to your doctor or practice nurse.
Written by Anna Mickell RCpN. Reviewed in June 2005 by everybody.