SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
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Diaper rash is characterized by the following:
- Skin signs. Diaper rash is marked by red, puffy and tender-looking skin in the diaper region — buttocks, thighs and genitals.
- Changes in your baby's disposition. You may notice your baby seems more uncomfortable than usual, especially during diaper changes. A baby with a diaper rash often fusses or cries when the diaper area is washed or touched.
Diaper rashes can occur intermittently, anytime your child wears diapers, but they're more common in babies during their first 15 months, especially between 9 and 12 months of age.
When to see a doctor
Diaper rash is usually easily treated and improves within a few days after starting home treatment. If your baby's skin doesn't improve after a few days of home treatment with over-the-counter ointment and more frequent diaper changes, talk to your doctor. Sometimes, diaper rash leads to secondary infections that may require prescription medications.
Have your child examined if:
- The rash is severe
- The rash worsens despite home treatment
Also see your child's doctor if the rash occurs along with any of the following:
- Blisters or boils
- A rash that extends beyond the diaper area
- Pus or weeping discharge
- Unusual sleepiness
- Horii KA. Overview of diaper dermatitis in infants and children. http://www.uptodate.com/index. Accessed March 7, 2012.
- What can I do if my baby gets diaper rash? American Academy of Pediatrics. http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/diapers-clothing/pages/Diaper-Rash-Solution.aspx. Accessed April 2, 2012.
- Scheinfeld N. Diaper dermatitis: A review and brief survey of eruptions of the diaper area. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. 2005;6:273.
- Shin HT. Diaper dermatitis that does not quit. Dermatologic Therapy. 2005;18:124.