Dangers to a Baby's Skin
Diaper rash is red, often bumpy and can appear anywhere the diaper touches. If you've sailed through the first few months of your child's life without incident, you might think your little one has avoided this uncomfortable condition. But be aware that diaper rash can crop up at any time. A baby is most susceptible to diaper rash between eight and 10 months of age, but developing the condition anytime during the first 15 months of life is common [source: Mayo Clinic]. Here are some triggers:
- New products -- wipes, diapers, laundry detergent
- Yeast or bacterial infection
- The use of plastic pants over diapers [source: Mayo Clinic]
Most of the time, you can successfully treat diaper rash at home. Changing your baby's diaper more frequently, using just water and a washcloth for cleansing rather than baby wipes, and exposing your baby's bottom to air now and again should clear up mild cases. Applying ointments with petroleum jelly or zinc oxide can also help protect the sensitive diaper area when a mild rash exists -- it may even prevent one from forming.
See a doctor if your home treatments don't clear up the rash or if your baby develops a fever, blisters, boils, a rash outside the diaper area or a discharge from the rash itself [source: Mayo Clinic].
Infants and sun do not mix. Especially in the first six months of a baby's life, it's important to keep a little one out of the sun entirely. If that's not possible, keep exposed skin to a minimum and use a small amount of gentle sunscreen on the exposed areas. Babies older than six months should also be kept out of the sun as much as possible, but their skin is not quite as fragile as a younger infant's is [source: Mayo Clinic: Sunscreen].
Keeping baby covered and protected from the sun is important, but it's also important not to overdo things. Overheating a baby's skin can lead to prickly heat rash, little red bumps in areas such as the neck, armpits and diaper area. Even in cold weather, a baby only needs one more layer than what an adult is wearing [source: CBS].
Read on to learn how often babies should take baths -- the answer might surprise you.