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Why nappy rash occurs

Nappy rash is a red, moist or broken area on your baby’s bottom.

Most babies get nappy rash at some time, but some are more sensitive than others. Your baby’s skin needs to be clean and dry to help prevent nappy rash.

If your baby’s bottom has redness or spots:

  • change them more often
  • give them time without a nappy

Causes of nappy rash

Nappy rash can occur when:

  • your baby is left too long in a dirty or wet nappy
  • a rough nappy rubs against your baby
  • your baby has a thrush infection
  • their skin is sensitive to a soap, bath product or detergent like washing powder
  • you use baby wipes that contain alcohol
  • your baby is teething
  • your baby or toddler has recently been on antibiotics

Healing nappy rash

Always wash your hands before and after changing your baby’s nappy. Use cotton wool and water to clean your baby’s skin. Try not to use baby wipes until your baby is 2 to 4 weeks old.

Gently wash your baby’s bottom and pat it dry at each nappy change. Leave off the nappy for half an hour and expose the skin to fresh air, as much as possible.

Add a thin layer of protective barrier cream. Your pharmacist, public health nurse or GP can recommend one.

Don’t use bubble baths, talcum powder or any scented products on your baby. Sometimes it can be helpful to give your baby their evening fluids early. This means the nappy may not be as wet overnight.

Never apply raw egg or any other food directly to broken skin.

Go to your GP if your baby or toddler is in discomfort. Your GP can prescribe an ointment to help to heal the nappy rash.

Related topic

Caring for your baby's skin

Bowel habit concerns

Contact your GP if your baby has any of the following:

  • severe pain and distress when passing stools
  • blood on your baby's stool
  • fever
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • bloody diarrhoea
  • bloated tummy
  • failure to thrive

Related topic

Symptoms of diarrhoea in babies and children

Page last reviewed: 16/09/2018
Next review due: 16/09/2021