It’s a dilemma for many parents, whether to take their baby with sensitive skin swimming or not, given that swimming pools can trigger such uncomfortable rashes!
On the one hand, swimming is a wonderful activity for babies and toddlers; getting them used to water and learning to swim is not just an enjoyable opportunity for parent-child bonding, but can be passing on literally life-saving skills further down the line.
On the other hand, public swimming pools have to be treated with some extremely strong chemicals to prevent even more dangerous microbes from colonising the pool! And those strong chemicals, notably chlorine, can make sensitive skin really quite sore, especially if your little one has eczema.
So what can you do about it? While it's impossible to prevent every single occurrence of swimming pool rash, you can reduce the risk! So here are our five top tips for looking after your baby’s precious skin while still enjoying a splash about.
- Limit their time in the water; the longer the contact with chlorinated water, the more likely the reaction, so take them out after half an hour. That way they get the benefit of going but reduce the risk of a rash afterwards.
- Keep them hydrated before and after swimming, with plenty of water or milk. This will make sure their little bodies have enough water to keep their skin hydrated and allow it to stave off damage.
- Moisturise all over, especially on any sore or dry patches, before swimming with a waxy balm like Skin Salvation.
- Wash off swimming pool water very thoroughly immediately after swimming, with a warm- not hot - shower
- Moisturise afterwards too; pat skin towel dry and apply a balm or a body oil as soon as you can to lock in moisture and keep the skin in good, healthy, resilient condition.
Do be mindful of the fact that everyone’s skin is different: some babies tolerate chlorinated water really well, while others do not. If your baby is in severe discomfort every time you take them swimming, then seek out pools that use fewer or less irritant chemicals; ask local hydrotherapy pools what they use, or just leave it until their skin is more mature.
It's also worth knowing that some babies with eczema positively benefit from swimming pool water! If you've ever heard of bleach baths helping little ones with chronic eczema, you'll know that the dilution of bleach in water is similar to that used in public swimming pools. Read more about it here: Are Bleach Baths Safe For Babies With Eczema?
Symptoms of various water-related rashes obviously vary from person to person, but chlorine rash comes on after contact with chlorinated water, and should disappear within a few days. If you're worried about the rash worsening, what caused it, or if breathing is affected, then consult a doctor.
For more information about looking after your skin when swimming, see our article on The Best Natural Treatment For Chlorine Rash.
Skin Salvation with hemp & calendula, from £7.99 for 30ml
Bath & Body Oil with hemp & lavender, £12.99 for 200ml
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.