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Atopic dermatitis in children

Man smiling and hugging his young son in bed

Caring for children with atopic dermatitis

Caring for a child with atopic dermatitis (AD) can feel intense and there’s more demand on your time. Not only are you doing your best to protect and support your child, but you’re also juggling the daily tasks of family life. This can cause some people to feel guilt or worry that they’re not doing enough.1 If you’re one of them, don’t put pressure on yourself – we’re sure you’re already doing a great job.

AD can impact many aspects of family life such as sleep, time together as a family and future plans.2 It’s ok to need support too, and you’re not alone – AD is the most common form of eczema and affects 15–20% of children worldwide.3

If your child’s AD isn’t controlled, finding the right treatment to manage it will help lighten the load. Talking to a dermatologist is the first step, and we’re here to help you through it.

Download our caregiver guide

Our caregiver guide is here to help you and your child better understand AD, and the ways you can manage it. From spotting the signs and symptoms to approaching conversations with your dermatologist, it’s packed full of useful information for you and how to get your child the care they need.

Inside we cover topics such as:

  • Understanding AD, and how to explain it to your child
  • The effects AD can have on them
  • Managing your child’s AD
  • Making the most of appointments with your child’s dermatologist

Discover the guide

Mother looking worried inspecting the sore skin of an infant with atopic dermatitis (eczema)

Signs your child’s AD may be uncontrolled

When we talk about uncontrolled AD, we don’t just mean lesions and itch. When a child’s AD isn’t controlled, it affects their quality of life beyond physical symptoms.4

Here are some signs your child’s AD may be uncontrolled:4

  • They are experiencing AD flares
  • Their AD is impacting their sleep or waking them up at night
  • Their AD is affecting their daily activities or their time at school
  • Their AD is affecting their mood and self-confidence

Woman researching atopic dermatitis (eczema) and its treatments

How you can help

As a parent or caregiver, it’s only natural to want to find a solution for your child’s AD. You’ve likely already spent a lot of time searching for advice on how to ease their discomfort – online, through friends and family, and from your doctor and dermatologist.

Recognising the signs and symptoms of AD can help you understand what your child is going through and, as a result, better support them. As your child’s condition develops, their signs and symptoms can change. It’s important to tell your doctor about any changes, however big or small – this will build a clearer picture that can help them better manage your child’s AD.

Female dermatologist wearing blue shirt sat in chair and having a conversation about eczema


Appointments with your child’s dermatologist can be key milestones on their journey to long-term control, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. For example: 

  • What’s the next step if things don’t improve?
  • What’s your assessment of my child’s condition based on what I’ve told you today?
  • Are there any safe treatments that will help us achieve long-term control?

During the appointment, your child’s dermatologist may discuss treatment options – so it’s worth getting clued up on them beforehand. Treatments include:


Topical treatments

Topical treatments are applied to the surface of the skin to ease the symptoms of AD. They include emollients, topical corticosteroids and topical calcineurin inhibitors.9,11


Treatments beyond topicals

If your child has tried a number of topical treatments and they haven’t worked to get their AD under control, their dermatologist may prescribe a treatment beyond topicals.9,11 This could be a biologic, a JAK inhibitor or immunosuppressant depending on how old they are.9 Treatments beyond topicals work from within the body and are taken either as a pill or an injection under the skin.9

A few useful things to remember

Being a parent or caregiver can feel overwhelming at the best of times. So here’s a few important things to remind yourself of throughout your journey.

  • Your child’s AD is not your fault. Underlying systems in their body play a role in their condition, and so even if you were able to ‘perfectly’ control their environment, they would likely still have it6,7,11
  • Helping your child to understand their AD can set them up to manage their condition more independently as they get older
  • Take care of yourself too

Caring for a child with AD isn’t something you need to have ‘all figured out’ or go through alone – your dermatologist is here to help.

So at your next appointment, talk to them about managing your child’s AD for the long-term. Together, you can find the control your child deserves.

What Causes AD

What causes atopic dermatitis?

Have you ever wondered what causes your AD? It might be time to think about it from a new perspective.

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AD Glossary


Feeling lost in a sea of terminology? Our glossary can help you feel confident when you discuss your AD.

Expand your vocabulary

Managing AD

Managing AD

Feeling like you ve tried everything to manage your AD? Don't lose hope. We've got the tips, tools and information you need to get closer to control.

Go to Managing AD


  1. Chamlin SL et al. J Investig Dermatol 2005; 125(6); 1106–1111.

  2. Eichenfield LF et al. Paediatr Drugs 2022; 24(4): 293-305.

  3. Nutten S et al. Ann Nutr Metab 2015; 66(suppl 1): 8–16.

  4. Zuberbier T et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2006; 118(1): 226–232.

  5. Fishbein AB et al. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2020; 8(1): 91–101.

  6. Al-Shobaili HA et al. Int J Health Sci 2016; 10(1): 96–120.

  7. National Eczema Association. Atopic Dermatitis. Available at: Accessed October 2022.

  8. Bieber T. Ann Dermatol 2010; 22(2): 125–137.

  9. Wollenberg A et al. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 2022; 36(9): 1409–1431.

  10. Teasdale E et al. Children 2021; 8(2): 158.

  11. National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. Atopic eczema in under 12s: diagnosis and management. Available at: Accessed October 2022.