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Baby’s sensitive skin requires special attention. Use these tips and you’ll tackle rashes, burns, and bites like a pro.
Stop diaper rash. Frequent bowel movements, diarrhea, prolonged exposure to soiled or wet diapers, and moisture build-up from snug diapers are common causes of the redness, bumps, and skin breaks associated with diaper rash. Prompt diaper changes, loose-fitting diapers, and liberal use of zinc-oxide-based creams at every change usually prevents rashes. If one does occur, these tips can ease baby’s discomfort.
- Rinse affected area with warm water at each diaper change and pat dry.
- Soap can slow the healing process, so use mild soap only after bowel movements.
- Use alcohol free/fragrance free-wipes, warm wash cloths, or soft paper towels to prevent further irritation.
- A lukewarm bath with powdered oatmeal (available at most pharmacies) soothes and calms irritated skin.
While most diaper rashes resolve on their own, Dr. Jennifer Berger, pediatrician at Memphis Pediatrics, advises parents to contact their child’s doctor if a rash lasts more than a week, covers a large area, or has open sores or blisters.
Don’t forget heat rash. Hot, humid weather often causes tiny red bumps in skin folds, the diaper area, upper chest, arms, and legs. Avoid it by knowing how to dress for the summer months ahead.
- Dress baby in lightweight, breathable clothing to reduce sweating.
- Keep skin exposed to air when possible.
- Remove sweat and other forms of moisture with cool water and pat dry.
- Don’t use lotions or ointments, as these products prevent the release of body heat.
- Keep baby cool.
Use sun protection. To keep baby sunburn free, the American Academy of Pediatricians offers these guidelines.
- Keep babies under 6 months out of direct sunlight.
- Utilize shade provided by trees, umbrellas, or canopies.
- Limit time outdoors between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
- Dress infants in lightweight, tightly woven clothing that covers arms and legs.
- Use hats or sunbonnets with 3” brims to shade the face, ears, neck, and scalp.
- Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 30 containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide 15 to 30 minutes prior to exposure.
- Infants under 6 months — apply a tiny amount of sunscreen to small, exposed areas such as face, hands and feet.
- Infants over 6 months — apply to entire body.
- Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming.
If sunburn does occur, reduce heat with a cool (not cold) bath or cool, wet compresses. To ease discomfort for infants 2 to 6 months of age, Berger suggests acetaminophen according to the child’s pediatrician’s dosage guidelines and ibuprofen for babies over 6 months. Pure aloe vera gel also aids in promoting comfort. If the child is younger than 1 year or develops blisters, pain, or fever, contact your pediatrician.
Keep bugs away. The AAP offers these guidelines for insect repellent use on infants older than 2 months.
- Follow all label directions and precautions.
- Avoid repellents containing more than 30 percent DEET.
- Apply in an outdoor area to avoid inhalation.
- Permethrin-based repellents work best for ticks; however, only apply to outer clothing.
- Apply skin safe products to outer clothing and exposed skin only, avoiding cuts and irritated skin.
- To protect the face, first apply product to your hands and carefully rub on child’s face, avoiding eyes and mouth area.
- Avoid products combining DEET and sunscreen due to potential of overexposure to DEET with reapplication.
- If a rash or other adverse reaction develops, wash your child with soap and water and contact your pediatrician or Poison Control at (800) 222-1222. Take the bug spray container with you.
Shopping for Body Products?
- Consider buying soaps and shampoos made with natural ingredients. The fewer chemicals, the better it is for baby’s skin. Try simply-made, unscented products like Castile soap (made with olive oil), almond oil, or aloe vera for diaper rash.
- Skip antibacterial soaps. Washing with hot water and soap will kill germs just as effectively.
- And remember, baby only needs a bath every second or third day.
— Source: Webmd.com