Splashing in the pool is a great way for your baby to stay cool and comfortable during hot summer days. But spending too much time in a water-soaked diaper can result in diaper rash.
Hot, humid weather can also promote diaper rash because baby’s skin doesn’t get a chance to dry out and the excess moisture irritates sensitive skin. Disposable diapers, which are designed to lock in moisture, can also contribute to the problem.
“During warmer weather, infants are also more susceptible to yeast diaper rashes,” said Dr. Emma Raizman, a pediatrician at the Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics office in Medina. “This type of rash appears wet, is very red and can spread quickly.”
With a few precautions, you can keep your baby’s diaper area as dry as possible to prevent irritating rashes.
“The more you can keep your baby’s bottom dry, the better,” said Dr. Raizman. “You can do this by letting her run around outside without a diaper to ‘air out,’ or by drying the diaper area and changing your baby as soon as you get out of the pool.”
Cloth diapers can also help because they’re made from breathable cotton and other natural fabrics.
Treating diaper rash
If a rash occurs, Dr. Raizman recommends:
- Applying your regular diaper cream and keeping the area clean and dry
- Using petroleum jelly or Aquaphor® to create a protective barrier on your baby’s skin
- Cleaning the diaper area with a warm, damp, soft washcloth instead of commercial wipes that might further irritate the skin
- Avoiding baby powders, which could be inhaled into the lungs
“The AAP recommends avoiding baby powder because of the risk of breathing problems and lung damage if particles are inhaled. And we all know that it’s difficult to keep the powder from going everywhere, especially into the air,” said Dr. Raizman. “This includes talc-based powders, as well as those made from cornstarch.”
Even small amounts of powder inhaled into an infant’s lungs can cause damage, especially for babies at high risk for respiratory problems, such as preemies or those who have RSV or congenital heart disease.
When to call the doctor
If your baby’s diaper rash doesn’t respond well to the recommended treatment, your doctor can determine if a yeast infection is the cause. You should also contact the doctor if you’re unsure of the cause or the diaper rash seems to be getting worse instead of better.
“The sooner we can treat diaper rash, the less likely it is to spread and cause further discomfort for your baby,” said Dr. Raizman.