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Bathing and personal care

Everything from nappy changing to wound care takes place in the bathroom. This is where we philosophise among the bath-time bubbles and cry over plasters. But it is also where children learn important cleaning and hygiene routines. Routines that will probably remain with them for the rest of their lives.

Shampoo and soap

Shampoo, soap and bubble bath contain surfactants that remove dirt and clean the body and hair. But surfactants also dry out the skin. Choose mild, environmentally labelled products without perfumes in order to reduce the risk of allergies.

Toothpaste

When a child develops their first teeth, it is a good idea to start brushing them in order to keep the teeth clean and make this a routine, natural part of their everyday life. The fluoride in the toothpaste strengthens and protects the teeth against decay, but it is not good for children to ingest it in large quantities. It is preferable to use a children’s toothpaste as these contain smaller quantities of fluoride than adult toothpaste. Fluoride toothpastes have to be labelled with instructions about how much toothpaste should be used for children. Follow the instruction and make sure that children spit out the toothpaste after they have brushed their teeth.

Wet wipes

Wet wipes sometimes contain perfume and preservatives that may lead to children developing allergies if they are used too frequently. When changing nappies it is therefore better to primarily use water and a paper towel or flannel. Save the wet wipes for when you are out and about and don’t have access to water.

Perfume can irritate sensitive skin and cause eczema or allergies. Check the list of ingredients to ensure that the product does not contain anything your child is allergic to and avoid products that do not have a list of ingredients.

Bath clay and bath bombs

These products are considered cosmetics and therefore have to have a complete list of ingredients.

Skin and sun creams

When it comes to skin creams and other products that are used on the skin, it is a good idea to avoid strongly scented products to prevent children developing eczema or allergies. This also applies to products that are marketed as natural products. Protect children from strong sun with sun hats and sun clothes. Children’s skin is sensitive and if they get burned, they have a greater risk of developing skin diseases later in life. Use sun cream on any parts of the body that are not covered by clothing just before the children go outside. Use a large 13 dollop of sun cream and remember to reapply after bathing and towel drying. Children under the age of one should not be exposed to direct sunlight at all and therefore do not need sun cream.

Mosquito and tick repellent

Mosquitoes and ticks can be a nuisance, but bear in mind that mosquito and tick repellent can be harmful if used incorrectly and can even irritate the skin and eyes when used normally. It is better to used protective clothing on children and put the repellent on the clothes instead of the skin. Do not use repellent near the eyes or mouth and do not use it on children under the age of 3.

Products that may be hazardous must be kept out of the sight and reach of children. Choose a high cupboard or a locked box for storing chemicals, cleaning products and medicines. Always store products in their original packaging.

Medicines

Some medicines can look like sweets or taste so good that children are enticed to eat them. You should therefore ensure that medicines are stored where children cannot get to them on their own. If your child has accidentally ingested medicine, you should call 112 and ask for poison information. You will then be connected to the Swedish Poisons Information Centre, while the 112 operator continues to monitor the call to send an ambulance if necessary. It is a good idea to have activated charcoal at home so that you can give this to a child right away in cases of suspected poisoning. Activated charcoal binds to the substance and prevents it being taken up by the body. However, always ask the Poisons Information Centre before giving activated charcoal as this may be inappropriate in some cases.

Hair colour

Permanent hair colour and tints contain chemicals that may cause irritation and potential burns when they come into contact with mucous membranes in the mouth, oesophagus or eyes. The earlier someone begins exposing themselves to the substances in hair colour, the greater the risk that they develop an allergy to them. That is why there is an age limit of 16 for using hair colour in the EU.