Kids Home > Severe Diaper Rash

Stool and urine are the most common irritants that can cause a diaper rash. Severe cases can result in a beefy red rash and peeling of the skin. Most rashes improve within three days, but you should seek medical attention if your child has severe symptoms, such as bleeding, open sores, or red bumps around the diaper area.

Are All Diaper Rashes the Same?

A diaper rash is one of the most common skin conditions during the infant and toddler years. Yet, not all diaper rashes are created equal when it comes to the severity of symptoms and what causes them.
If your baby currently has a severe diaper rash, you might have a lot of questions, such as:
  • What is causing it?
  • Should I call my healthcare provider?
  • How should it be treated?
In the next few sections, we can help answer some of these questions.

What Could Be Causing This Severe Diaper Rash?

A diaper rash is any rash in the skin area covered by the diaper. If your baby has a suspicious rash in or around the diaper region, it may have been caused by something as simple as overexposure to moisture or a combination of a few factors.
The particular causes of diaper rash are often separated into those related to the diaper versus those not related to diaper use.
Rashes related to the diaper include those caused by an irritant, which is the most common cause. Stool and urine are the usual irritants. In most cases, this type of rash is mild, with some redness in the diaper area. But in some cases, an irritant diaper rash can be more severe, causing a beefy red rash and peeling of the skin.
Irritant diaper rashes can also become infected with yeast or bacteria, which can make them more severe both in appearance and other symptoms (such as fever).
(Click Causes of Diaper Rash for more information.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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