When you’ve got a child who suffers from eczema, it can take a toll on the whole family and make simple days out rather more difficult and stressful.
Staying indoors and avoiding the joys of family outings is, of course, not an option. We all need to get out and about to see friends or just enjoy time together as a family or go on a long car journey. And while the thought of sandy beaches and soft play centres may fill you with dread, it’s important to know you can do these things without letting eczema get in your way.
It just takes a little more organisation and forward-planning, but we eczema parents are used to that, aren’t we! Here are some tips we hope will help you in getting out and about.
Eczema and children’s parties
Children’s parties can play havoc with eczema, but you can minimise the risk of a flare-up.
- Don’t be afraid to talk to the organiser about your child’s eczema. Most people are very understanding and will accommodate dietary requirements and other specific needs.
- Find out what activities will take place at the event, so you can adequately prepare. Biscuit decorating? Remember to check allergens or organise for your child to do something else without feeling like they’re missing out. Petting zoos? Make sure you’re there to supervise hand washing straight away so that the animal hair doesn’t have too much time to cause a flare-up. Outdoor party with mud and water? Make sure you apply plenty of emollient before and after the party to protect their skin.
- If particular foods cause a problem, find out exactly where you will be eating and phone ahead so that the venue is aware. While most party venues will accommodate allergies it’s a good idea to take some snacks and drinks with you so that your child won’t feel like they’re missing out.
- If the party is at a soft play centre, dress them in tights/long trousers and a long sleeve top to try to mitigate their contact with dust and cleaning chemicals which could impact their skin.
Eczema and theme parks/family destinations
Most family destinations are great when it comes to providing facilities for parents of young children.
- Make your day run like clockwork by phoning ahead to ask about their changing facilities (how many facilities are available, what equipment do they have and where are they on-site?) You can then plan your day so that you have regular opportunities to check your child’s eczema and apply their creams.
- Think about where you’re going to eat. If you’re having a picnic, remember to take a blanket so your child doesn’t have to sit on the grass. Remember to take wipes you know your child’s skin can tolerate. If you’re going to a café, check the menu beforehand, it’s usually available online.
- Take what you need but don’t overload. Invest in travel size products or decant your moisturiser into a smaller tub. Take spare cotton clothing.
- Avoid activities which could cause a flare-up. If you’re at a family venue, there should be plenty to do. So, if there are activities you know could cause an issue (food-based activities, for example) then purposely avoid those areas. If you can’t avoid them, be prepared to handle disappointment with a different offer – for example, tell them they can’t decorate a cookie/pet the donkey but they can go to the art and craft activity or play in the park, whatever’s available.
- If you are planning an outdoor activity as a family, make sure to pack a good insect repellant for your child.
Eczema and the beach in summer or winter
Preparing for a day of sea and sand with an itchy child? You can read our detailed guide to taking your child with eczema swimming here – https://www.scratchsleeves.co.uk/eczema-baby-swimming/
- Go to a beach where there’s a choice of cafes nearby, that way it will be quicker and easier to find good, clean changing facilities.
- Invest in an extra large picnic blanket so that you can minimise the amount of time your child is sitting on the sand.
- Take some bottles of tap water so you can rinse off the sand quickly and easily.
- Make a list of things you’ll need – the sunscreen lotion your child’s skin can tolerate and extra-emollient for applying to sore areas.
- If you’re enjoying a bracing walk on the beach in the winter, sand won’t be so much an issue but the weather possibly will. Salty winds and the cold can play havoc with eczema so make sure you apply barrier cream to any exposed areas, and Vaseline or a homemade lip balm for the lips.
- While your child may not want to wear gloves for the entire outing, the impact of the sand and the cold weather will be minimised if they cover their hands. You may need to park near toilet facilities or a café so that you can wash hands in warm water to get rid of all the sand from their hands before heading home. For more tips on managing eczema in winter, click here.
Eczema and Swimming
Being immersed in water for any length of time can irritate your child’s eczema, but no-one wants to miss out. You can read our detailed guide to taking your child with eczema to the beach here – Top Tips for Taking an Eczema Child to the Beach
- Shower your child after swimming to minimise the effect of chlorine on eczema.
- Moisturise before swimming so that the cream can act as a barrier. Buy them a cheap sun-suit to keep really uncomfortable areas of their body covered.
- Minimise the impact of itching with our SplashSleeves which have been specially designed for use in the bath or swimming pool.
Our handy eczema holiday packing checklist will help to make sure you’ve got the essentials.
Got a tip?
We hope these tips help you enjoy days out with your children, in spite of eczema. If you have any more tips you can share with other parents, please get in touch with us on our social media pages!