Top Tips For Caring For Your Child With Eczema

Top Tips For Caring For Your Child With Eczema

Tips from keeping your child cool to using lots of moisturiser - check the top 10 tips when caring for your child with eczema.


Keep cool

Eczema affects the ability of the skin to control body temperature. People with eczema often feel hot, and heat can make eczema skin feel itchy. Don't dress your child too warmly. Keep your child's bedroom cool and well ventilated especially in summer, and the bedding lightweight.

Use lots of moisturiser and have an eczema plan

Appropriate moisturisers are available on prescription. Ask your family doctor to prescribe - depending on the severity of the eczema, some people will use one pot of moisturiser in a week. This reduces the need for steroid creams. Your doctor can also write up an eczema action plan for your child.

Be safety conscious

Babies and young children will be very slippery when bathing with moisturisers. Always supervise them in the bath and lift out using a towel. Pat (not rub) dry.

Avoid skin products with soap, detergent or fragrances

Look for products which state 'soap-free, fragrance-free, suitable for eczema'. Do not use bubble baths. Often, the soap substitute you use can be the same cream that your doctor has prescribed as a moisturiser.

If your child has eczema on their hands, avoid hand soap but use sorbolene instead.

Don't put hands in the moisturiser

Remember not to put hands in the tub of moisturiser as this increases the risk of infection. Use a clean spoon to scoop out onto a clean plate or paper towel or use a prescribed moisturiser that comes in a pump bottle (such as sorbolene).

Avoid getting soap on the skin when shampooing hair

To avoid getting soap on the skin, lean over a hand basin or tub to rinse off or wash the hair at the end of the bath to avoid sitting in the shampoo in the bath water. You don't need to shampoo hair every day.

Bath or shower every day

If there is no bath, smaller kids can use a big plastic bin to soak in for up to 10 minutes. If showering, put moisturiser on first then get in the shower to rinse off.

Minimise scratching

Minimise the risk of scratching and causing more damage to skin. Keep nails short (yours and your child's) but use a nail file instead of clippers or scissors. Provide cotton gloves or mittens and socks to protect skin against scratching especially at night. A plastic bag filled with ice cubes, or a cold facecloth, next to the skin can help to relieve itching.

Take care with clothing and bedding

Rough fibres irritate skin with eczema and some people find lanolin in wool can irritate. Find a fabric that works such as 100 percent cotton fabric, and use for clothing, bedding including blankets and bedspreads, and as covers on vinyl or leather car seats and kitchen chairs and sofas. Remove name and brand tags from clothing to prevent irritation to the neck.

Try to control the dust

Damp dust and vacuum the house regularly.

Protect skin when swimming

Chlorine swimming pools may make some children's eczema worse. Put on moisturiser before swimming. Shower after swimming and then put moisturiser on again. Some children prefer saltwater pools or the sea.

Sun protection

The best sun protection is shade or clothing with long sleeves (such as rash vests). If using sunscreen, choose one for sensitive skins with SPF 30 or more.

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This content has been developed and approved by the Clinical Reference Group for the Paediatric Society NZ's Eczema Clinical Network, Te Rōpū Kiripai Hapori.

This page last reviewed 04 August 2022.

Call Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time of the day or night for free health advice when you need it