Children's eczema is the most common form of eczema in children. It is also called atopic dermatitis and atopic eczema.

What is childhood eczema?

Children's eczema is the most common form of eczema in children. It is also called atopic dermatitis and atopic eczema. You can tell childhood eczema by the fact that it tends to cause dry, itchy skin and periods of eczema. Eczema can come and go.

Before the age of 1, childhood eczema usually appears on the child's cheeks, chin and scalp. In older children, childhood eczema is typically found in the crooks of the elbows, knees, hands, wrists and ankles. Bacteria on the skin can aggravate eczema. It is therefore important to keep your child's skin clean and well cared for to avoid skin infections.

Both heritage and environment play a role in whether your child develops childhood eczema. Most people with childhood eczema have parents or siblings who have or have had hay fever, asthma or childhood eczema. About 20% of children born in Denmark get childhood eczema.

A recent pilot study* shows that if a new-born baby in the high-risk group** is lubricated at least once a day with moisturiser, the relative risk of developing childhood eczema is halved by 6 months of age.

* Source: E. Sompson et al J Allergy Clinton Immunol. October 2014

** Source: Infants at high risk for eczema were defined as having a parent or sibling who has (or had) medically diagnosed atopic dermatitis, asthma, or allergic rhinitis

Good advice when your child has eczema

Lubricate your child's skin several times a day with an unscented oily cream. You can not use too much cream.

If your child has severe eczema or the eczema spreads, contact your doctor and get a steroid cream prescribed to alleviate the symptoms. It is important that the eczema is not allowed to develop.

Keep your baby's skin clean with short showers or tubs in lukewarm water. Wash skin with a mild unscented soap. Rinse the soap thoroughly and pat the skin dry with a towel.

Lubricate your child with an unscented cream immediately after bathing. Then the cream penetrates better and retains the moisture that the skin has absorbed during the bath.

Give yourself plenty of time to care for your baby's skin. Make it a cosy moment. For example, play 'snow' with the cream: You dab the cream on and your child helps smear it in.

Keep your baby's nails short and smooth so your baby can not scratch a hole in the skin when it itches.

Move focus when it itches. Read a story or sing a funny song so your child forgets the itch.

Avoid clothing that can irritate the skin.

Let your child sleep coolly. Heat makes itching worse.