Baby swimming lessons provide many long-term benefits including awareness of water safety and improved balance and co-ordination. They can also improve overall fitness, strengthening the heart and lungs in the process. Despite these health benefits, swimming lessons can be a daunting experience for parents of children with skin conditions such as eczema, however, with some additional planning beforehand, your baby can still enjoy swimming lessons.
Here we have listed our top tips for protecting your babies skin during swimming lessons if they have eczema.
Choosing the right pool
When many parents think about swimming lessons for their baby or toddler, the natural place to begin is a leisure centre. Unfortunately, this is potentially the worse possible choice because they tend to be designed with adult users in mind.
The main problem with leisure centre swimming pools is that they are cleaned with chlorine, which has a drying effect that can be especially irritating to sensitive skin. When you choose a specialist baby swimming pool, the levels of chlorine in the water are much lower. In fact, the pools at London Baby Swim are designed to use state of the art UV disinfection systems that maintain water hygiene with a much lower amount of chlorine.
The National Eczema Society's Eczema and swimming factsheet recommends contacting your chosen baby pool before a lesson to check when the chlorine is added as it's best not to use a pool straight after.
Choosing the right clothing
Opting for UV-protection swimsuits and clothing is one of the ways you can help to protect your babies skin. These suits are designed to provide a barrier between your babies skin and the water, and contain eczema and barrier creams whilst providing unrestricted movement during the session.
They are generally designed with a high neck and long legs and sleeves to cover as much of the baby's skin as possible.
Swimming during a flare up
You should avoid taking your baby to swimming lessons during an eczema flare up or if their skin is infected. Not only can the water make the irritation worse by further drying out the skin, it can also cause areas where the skin is sore or broken to become especially painful for your baby.
Before the swimming lesson
Before the baby swimming lesson, it is essential to wash their skin well with an emollient and apply a moisturiser, barrier cream, or emollient ointment. Apply more of the cream or ointment that you usually would to make up for any that will be washed or rubbed away during the session.
After the swimming lesson
As soon as possible after the baby swimming lesson, remove their UV-protection swimsuit or clothing and wash their skin with clean, warm water using an emollient wash, oil, or gel. Check with the pool in advance to ensure the water you're using to wash your baby doesn't contain chlorine. If you're unable to access chlorine-free water at the pool, it is recommended that you wash your babies skin as soon as you get home.
After washing your babies skin thoroughly, reapply moisturiser, barrier cream, or emollient ointment to add moisture back to the skin.
Book your first swimming lesson with London Baby Swim
If you're ready to book swimming lessons for your baby, London Baby Swim are taking bookings. Find baby swimming lessons on our website and book online, or call us on 020 8400 9091.