Nappy rash is common in infancy. ­However, some babies have sensitive skin and get nappy rash repeatedly. Here are some simple tips to reduce the risk.

The main causes of nappy rash are moisture under the nappy, overheating and friction (rubbing). Other factors are:

  • Faeces, especially diarrhoea
  • Cloth nappies, nappy liners, plastic pants
  • Bubble baths, soaps, other chemicals

How to prevent nappy rash

If your baby is prone to nappy rash:

  • Change nappies as soon as they become wet or soiled, usually about 6 times a day under 12 months of age.
  • Use good quality disposable nappies. They have absorbent gel materials that draw water away from the skin to keep it dry. They also cause less overheating and friction than cloth nappies.
  • If cloth nappies are worn:
    • Change the nappy every 2 hours
    • Don’t use plastic pants or nappy liners
    • Avoid double nappies
    • Machine wash and thoroughly rinse in hot water to remove laundry products
    • Tumble dry to make nappies softer
  • Clean the bottom gently with cotton wool or a soft cloth dampened with warm water or a non-soap cleanser such as sorbolene. Commercial wet wipes can be irritating.
  • Use a greasy barrier cream at every nappy change to protect the skin e.g. zinc and castor oil or petroleum jelly. If a product stings, try another one.
  • Avoid soaps, bubble baths, perfumed products, antiseptics & talcum powder.
  • Nappy-free time daily can be helpful.
  • See your doctor if a rash develops and persists for more than a few days.

Royal Children&yh1c;s Hospital Melbourne, Nappy Rash Fact Sheet
The Childrens Hospital at Westmead, Nappy Rash, Fact Sheet


  • Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
  • For up to date information, speak to your doctor.
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