Diapering your baby: Safety checklist

• Never leave baby unattended on the changing table.

• Keep one hand on baby at all times when changing a diaper.

• With a baby boy, keep a spare cloth diaper handy to cover his penis so you don't get unexpectedly "sprayed."

• Change diapers frequently, especially if baby has diaper rash.

• Change a baby before and after she sleeps.

• Check the diaper after each meal.

• Change cloth diapers more often than disposables. (Four to six disposable-diaper changes are equivalent to six to eight cloth-diaper changes.)

• If you use warm water instead of wipes, avoid using soap, which can be too harsh for baby's tender skin.

• When cleaning the genital area, always wash a baby from front to back.

• If you use disposables and your baby experiences frequent diaper rash, consider a possible allergy to the perfumes used.

• To heal diaper rash, let your baby go without diapers for a period of time each day.

• Powders can aggravate rashes and do nothing to keep skin dry. Use zinc oxide or petroleum jelly as a barrier against wetness.

• Raised, reddish-pink bumps in the diaper region may mean a yeast infection and could require an antifungal cream.

• If you suspect yeast, or if the rash is severe and lasts more than several days, call your baby's health care provider.

• A pink discharge in a newborn girl's diaper is normal and will go away in a few days.

• If your son is not circumcised, don't pull the foreskin back.

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