Bath-time should be a time of gentle fun when children can wind-down ready for bed. But for the parents of eczema children, bath-time can be one of the most stressful times of the day when their itchy little one has free access to scratch at unprotected skin. There’s also the disappointment of not being able to have bubbles in the bath, especially as children realise that there are fun bath products with their favourite character on available on the supermarket shelves (at their height, of course). Our tops tips should help make an eczema-friendly bath-time fun and stress-free.
There’s nothing like a good bath toy to enliven bath-time. From traditional rubber ducks to character toys to musical instruments designed especially for the bath, there something to appeal to every child. Bath ducks are great for teaching colours and counting to younger children (to the tune of ‘Three Little Ducks Went Swimming One Day’ in our house), while older kids enjoy character toys and musical instruments. Our kids love the Octonauts toys and the fiddly characters are great for keeping scratchy fingers otherwise occupied.
- Eczema risk: Bath toys, especially hollow or squirty ones, have a nasty habit of growing mould which can aggravate eczema in some children. Either avoid hollow toys altogether or soak them overnight in a cold water sterilising solution (e.g. Milton fluid or sterilising tablets) every 2-3 weeks. Make sure that hollow toys are filled with the solution and weighted down if necessary. If you live in a hard water area, adding 500ml of white vinegar to 5l of solution will get rid of any lime-scale build ups at the same time.
Refill character bottles
If your child is super keen on a particular novelty bath product but stuff in the bottle will trigger their eczema you can discard the product supplied, rinse the bottle thoroughly and refill it with your regular eczema friendly brand. This trick works every time for us.
Eczema friendly bath products
There are a number of eczema-friendly, fun bath-product ranges available. We are huge fans of the Tinti range – while they aren’t cheap they do make a great special treat. The crackling bath crystals are really good fun and the coloured bath-bombs have a tiny sponge animal hidden inside. A more regular treat is the bath powder from ItchyBaby which turns the water cloudy (and smell really nice). For some reason our kids love not being about to see through the water and demand their swimming goggles so that they can try looking through the cloudy water from underneath.
Bath-time doesn’t end with the bath, there’s the getting dry stage too. Character bath towels can make for great imagination games. In fact, even a regular plain bath sheet can be turned into a Jedi robe by our Star Wars mad, 6 year old. Poncho-style towels also have the great advantage of making to more difficult to get at itchy skin to have a good scratch.
Body art with eczema creams
No eczema child’s bath-time is complete without applying emollient and even this task can be made more entertaining by using the creams as body paint before they are smeared in. Tiger stripes and moustaches are popular in our house.
Keep it different
As parents of an eczema child, we know that it is tempting to find a routine which works and stick to it. But fun has a lot to do with novelty, so to keep your eczema child’s bath-time fun you’ll need to keep changing the fun factor. We change the bath-toys regularly and only bring out the novelty bath-products occasionally. Use whatever you have to hand: balloons left over from a party make a great sound under the running water and spin around; a foot pump (with just the hose in the water) makes brilliant bubbles (and slightly rude noises); mini-water pistols from party bags are great fun (if a little wet for the supervising parents!); and Lego boats work surprisingly well – but make sure you remove all the bits before you pull the plug!
Want more? Avoiding Baby Eczema Triggers #2: Bath-time has our top tips for making bath-time as eczema-friendly as possible.
Here at ScratchSleeves we don’t just share our experiences of bringing up an eczema child and favourite allergy friendly recipes, we also manufacturer and sell our unique stay-on scratch mitts for itchy babies, toddlers and children. We now stock sizes from 0-8 years in a range of colours. Visit our main website for more information.