Yesterday I breezed into my children’s new pediatrician’s office (and by breezed, I mean drove an hour, struggled my way in with a diaper bag, screaming baby, and two other children in tow) and filled out massive amounts of medical history while trying to keep all three kids happy.
It didn’t go so well.
After about 45 minutes of waiting, endless tears on their parts, and a shirt full of sweat on my part, it was time for me to strip the baby down so we could get him weighed. So you can imagine my mortification when I took off his diaper, only to discover that he had, unbeknownst to me, a dirty diaper, and consequently, a raging diaper rash, from sitting in a soiled diaper for almost two hours.
As I blushed and stammered an explanation, the pediatrician waved my apologies off. “It’s fine,” he said. “We see a lot of that this time of year."
Through my embarrassment, I realized, that of course, he was right. Summertime, a season full of heat waves, sand, and sweat galore, also lends itself well to a season of diaper rash. Along with the heat, Dr. Roy Benaroch of Pediatric Physicians, PC in Georgia says that “families may be distracted and not change Junior as often.”
Guilty as charged.
So what are some ways you can stop diaper rash this summer season?
1. Prevention. Use baby powder more frequently during the hot summer months to prevent diaper rash from starting. (If you’re concerned about inhalation, look for a talc-free version.) Equally as important, says Dr. Roy, is to ensure frequent diaper changing.
2. Air is the best medicine. If your baby does develop diaper rash, try to let his or her little bottom air out by giving the diaper a few hours off duty. “As silly as it sounds,” explains Dr. Roy, “the best treatment is ‘naked time.’ A cool dry butt heals up better than a warm, wet butt. Let your baby hang out after changing in no diaper at all, just allowing a little summer breeze to do its magic.” Just be prepared with some extra towels, just in case!
3. Slather on the ointment. Buy some Desitin or any other over-the-counter baby diaper rash ointment and apply it liberally with every diaper change and before bed. You should see pretty fast results.
4. What if it’s not getting any better? “Most diaper rashes will resolve within a few days with home care, like frequent changes, naked time, and using a thick zinc oxide paste with changes,” explains Dr. Roy. “If they're getting worse and worse, or if your baby seems very miserable, or has a fever or is acting ill, it's best to see a doctor.” My second daughter had a diaper rash that lasted well over a week a few summers ago and seemed to be getting worse. Turned out, she actually had a fungal, or yeast infection, that required anti-fungal ointment. Eek. So if that diaper rash just doesn’t seem to be going away, or seems to be spreading with contact, get it checked out.