Diaper rashes are among the most common skin disorders of infancy. In one survey of 1089 infants, diaper dermatitis occurred in 50%; however, only 5% had severe rash. The peak incidence of diaper dermatitis is between 9 and 12 months of age. The relation between age and the frequency of diaper dermatitis may result from several factors, including dietary changes from breast milk to formula milk and solid foods during the first 12 months of life. Breastfed infants have fewer diaper rashes than do formula-fed infants. The incidence of diaper dermatitis is 3 to 4 times higher in infants who have diarrhea.

The frequency and severity of diaper dermatitis are significantly lower when the mean number of diaper changes per day is eight or more, regardless of diaper type. Infants using superabsorbent disposable diapers have a significantly lower frequency and severity of diaper rash when compared with infants using cloth diapers.

Diaper Types

There currently are two types of diapering systems: reusable cloth diapers and single use (disposable) diapers. Cloth diapers provide containment through multiple layers of cotton fabric, usually aided by the use of plastic or cloth overpants. Nearly all disposable paper diapers now contain an absorbent gelling material within the cellular core.

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