Severe Diaper Rash on a 2-Year-Old

A severe diaper rash is not uncommon in 2-year-olds. Symptoms are irritating and painful, making both diaper changes and playtime uncomfortable for your toddler. Because it can lead to infections if not treated properly, it is imperative to understand what causes a severe diaper rash and how you can treat and avoid it.

A toddler running on the beach in her diaper. (Image: FamVeld/iStock/Getty Images)


Severe diaper rash is a condition that causes the skin of your 2-year-old's bottom to erupt in a fiery, red rash. This rash often spreads to other spots in the diaper area, including the scrotum, penis, vagina or labia. The rash is often itchy, scaly and patchy. In addition, ulcers, pimples, blisters or sores filled with pus often develop on the skin. The skin is often times so irritated that it bleeds.


Severe diaper rash develops when your 2-year-old's diaper area is exposed to too much moisture and not enough fresh air. This typically occurs if your baby's diaper is not changed often enough and her skin becomes irritated by the feces and urine in her diaper. In addition, the chemicals or ingredients in disposable diapers and wipes often irritate your baby's skin, causing a severe diaper rash. Yeast infections or bacterial infections also trigger severe rashes on the buttocks and genitals.


Clean your 2-year-old's bottom with a washrag and cool water. Lay a few towels or waterproof pads around and allow your child to play with a bare butt for 10 minutes or longer. Rub a diaper rash cream that contains zinc oxide onto the affected area to soothe and treat the rash. Call your doctor if your baby's rash does not subside within three days. He can prescribe a steroid cream or antifungal medication to treat the rash if needed.


Change your 2-year-old's diaper frequently -- at least every three hours. Prevent a severe diaper rash from reoccurring by washing your baby's diaper area with cotton balls dipped in water or a wet washcloth at every diaper change. This is especially effective if your baby's skin is sensitive to the fragrances, chemicals or alcohol in wipes. Apply a zinc oxide ointment or petroleum jelly at every diaper change to prevent the skin from becoming irritated.

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