Learning to swim is an important life skill, as well as great fun, but if your child has eczema swimming can be difficult.

Most parents want their children to learn to swim so where possible kids with eczema should also have this opportunity, however chlorine in the pool can be a trigger. There are steps you can take that can help but you might need to gauge how their skin is before grabbing your goggles and heading to the pool.

Here are our tips to make swimming a fun  activity for your little one.

  • Avoid swimming if the eczema is very flared or infected.
  • If it’s your child’s first time at the swimming pool limit their time in the pool to no longer than 20 minutes.
  • Apply a layer of emollient before swimming (ointment is good) and where possible around 30 minutes before going into the pool to allow it time to soak in.
  • After swimming it is important to shower your child to remove the chlorine using their soap substitute if you have one and then pat dry and apply another layer of emollient.
  • Chlorine can have one of two effects on a child with eczema, for some it can be an irritant but for others it can feel quite soothing (similar to a bleach bath).
  • It’s important to remember that not all pools use the same chemicals so if one pool irritates your child’s skin you could try another one.
  • Keep hands occupied in the pool by taking a bath/water toy to distract from scratching.
  • Also have something handy to keep hands busy in the changing room to allow you to get organised and minimise the risk of scratching.
  • Children with eczema may prefer a cooler pool to a warm pool which may irritate their eczema more.
  • If swimming outside, a waterproof sun protection will be needed. Apply emollients at least half an hour before applying sun cream. Using too much emollient may limit the effectiveness of the SFP in the sun protection.

Swimming is an important life skill for children to learn, hopefully with some planning, your little one can enjoy the pool. Happy splashing!