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Press Releases : 2015 Press Releases

Leading Nursing Journal Highlights Infant Skin Inflammation and Best Practices for Care

Wednesday, September 2, 2015  
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Treating and Preventing Diaper Rash is as Easy as “ABCDE”

— Leading Nursing Journal Highlights Infant Skin Inflammation and Best Practices for Care —


Washington, DC, September 2, 2015 – Diaper dermatitis (or diaper rash) results in approximately one million health care visits per year. While common, this acute inflammation of the skin in the diaper area can cause significant pain and distress for both infants and their caregivers. Lisa Merrill, MN, RN, wrote an article “Prevention, Treatment and Parent Education for Diaper Dermatitis” published in the August/September 2015 issue of Nursing for Women’s Health, the clinical practice journal of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). The article includes an educational activity in which nurses can earn 1.3 contact hours at no cost. Click here for additional details:


Diaper dermatitis is found most frequently among children younger than age two, with the majority of cases found in infants under age one. Diaper dermatitis is usually related to irritants on the skin, such as moisture, urine, and feces—or even diaper chafing. Infants, especially premature newborns, are susceptible to diaper rash because they do not have fully developed skin layers, which can break down and become inflamed.


Diaper dermatitis can be diagnosed by appearance, health history, and by excluding other potential causes of rash. Other skin inflammation conditions require different treatment, so assessment is important for proper care. Merrill cites the “ABCDE” approach to care, which stands for air, barrier, cleansing, diapering, and education. Exposing the diaper area to air reduces irritation from moisture and friction. Applying a barrier cream (zinc oxide or petroleum) protects the skin. Cleansing the area gently during each diaper change removes irritants. Diapers that are super absorbent and disposable (not cloth) help to wick moisture away from the skin and frequent changes are needed for minimizing exposure to irritants. Education for parents helps to develop good hygiene practices and prevent diaper rash.


“Diaper dermatitis is a serious health issue for many infants. Nurses are frequently the frontline educators for families and caregivers,” said AWHONN’s CEO, Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN. “A lack of clean diapers can contribute to this health condition. The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses is supporting a campaign to donate diapers to families in need. Learn how to help at”


An article in the upcoming October/November issue of Nursing for Women’s Health entitled “Clinicians Discuss Diaper Dermatitis” explores real-world issues and challenges of treating diaper dermatitis as discussed by a panel of nurse clinicians who practice in a variety of settings, including neonatal intensive care units, mother-baby units, and outpatient clinics.


About Nursing for Women's Health

Nursing for Women's Health is a bimonthly refereed clinical practice journal of the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. The journal circulates to more than 25,000 nurses who care for women and newborns and is available online at



Since 1969, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) has been the foremost authority promoting the health of women and newborns and strengthening the nursing profession through the delivery of superior advocacy, research, education, and other professional and clinical resources. AWHONN represents the interests of 350,000 registered nurses working in women's health, obstetric, and neonatal nursing across the United States. Learn more about AWHONN at



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Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

AWHONN is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider #CEP580. Accredited status does not imply endorsement by AWHONN or the American Nurses Credentialing Center of any commercial products displayed or discussed in conjunction with educational activities.

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