Is My Child's Diaper Rash Infected?

Although diaper rash is common for babies, parents can struggle to determine whether or not their child’s symptoms are “normal” or not. Diaper rash can spring up on a child’s skin if they sit in a dirty diaper for too long, change their diet, or if their genital area becomes irritated by harsh ingredients. Typically, it presents as pink or reddish splotchy skin. However, if you suspect that something else might be the matter with your child’s diaper rash, we’re sharing some of the key signs of a diaper rash that’s caused by infection.

What are the signs of an infected diaper rash?

There are two kinds of diaper rash infections: bacterial and fungal. Fungal infections are more common than bacterial. Also known as a yeast infection, they occur when Candida grows in the warm, moist environment that a child’s diaper provides. Infants can contract a yeast infection if they take an antibiotic or if they are breastfeeding from someone on antibiotics. An existing diaper rash can even turn into a yeast infection.

Meanwhile, bacterial infections are much less common than fungal infections. Like fungal infections, the presence of bacteria can exacerbate existing diaper rash. In rarer cases, strep or staph infections can be the cause.

Look out for these signs that indicate your child’s diaper rash may be infected:

Blisters, pimples, ulcers, or pus-filled sores

A diaper rash that goes beyond splotchy red patches could be infected. If you notice blisters, pimples, ulcers, or pus-filled sores on your child’s rash, it could be a sign of a fungal infection. Small red bumps or pimples that fall outside of the border of the rash also point towards an infection. You might be able to tell whether the rash looks “off” or “abnormal” by comparing it to how a diaper rash typically presents itself on your little one’s skin.

A fever

If your child has a fever, an infected diaper rash may be the culprit. In general, doctors qualify a fever as a rectal temperature of 100.4° Fahrenheit or above. Contact your child’s pediatrician immediately if you notice a fever.

Worsening rash after 2 days

Although diaper rash is incredibly common, most cases clear up within 2 to 3 days of at-home treatment. If your little one’s rash persists past the three day mark — especially if it grows worse — it could be infected. Monitor the rash closely during that period and watch for any development of blisters, brighter redness, and/or spreading to other parts of the body.

How can I treat an infected diaper rash?

If you notice any of the signs above, call your child’s pediatrician. They might prescribe an oral or topical antibiotic, antifungal cream, or steroid cream to tackle your child’s diaper rash. In the meantime, be very gentle with your child’s affected skin. Clean the skin carefully with warm water and apply zinc oxide or petroleum jelly as needed. Don’t scrub the skin with a washcloth or use lots of pressure. If the rash is too severe to touch (i.e. hurts your child), you can use a spray bottle to apply warm water. This will help treat the rash and protect it from coming in contact with irritating substances.

How do I prevent future cases of diaper rash?

The best way to avoid diaper rash is to use natural, non toxic diaper care products that don’t contain harsh or damaging chemicals. Some chemical-laden wipes and lotions that claim to clean the area can actually increase your little one’s risk of getting a rash.

NOLEO 3-in-1 Diaper Cleanser and Moisturizer cleans the diaper area, moisturizes the skin, and helps treat and prevent diaper rash. Plus, NOLEO 3-in-1 has been awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance™ and certified microbiome friendly, so it’s safe for even the most sensitive skin. It helps restore your baby’s skin barrier and keep their bottoms happy and healthy. While NOLEO 3-in-1 is great for normal cases or diaper rash and prevention, do not use the product on broken skin. Instead, apply a layer or petroleum jelly or zinc oxide to first heal the broken skin, then resume using NOLEO®.


If you suspect your child’s diaper rash might be caused by an infection or may have gotten infected, these signs and symptoms can guide your decision on whether or not to call your pediatrician.

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