Your child needs a bath every day to help protect against infection. A bath can help your child feel better. It also gives nurses the chance to check for skin changes before they cause problems.
Using antibacterial cloths with chlorhexidine gluconate is one of the best ways to prevent infection during a stay in the hospital. Chlorhexidine gluconate is also called CHG.
The picture below shows a packet of CHG bath wipes on the left and one (1) bath wipe on the right. There are several different brands. The brand you use might be the same or different from the one in the picture.
CHG has few side effects. It gives immediate and long-lasting protection from infections. It is important for your child to have a CHG bath every day in the hospital. Daily bathing gives your child all the benefits of CHG.
Use CHG cloths:
- Every day – instead of giving your child a bath or shower. If your child prefers a bath or shower, use CHG cloths one (1) hour later.
- After your child has a bowel or bladder accident.
- When you change your child’s diaper.
- To clean around urinary catheters.
- To clean around small wounds or skin stitches, if you need to. If your child has a larger wound, an open wound, or you are not sure a CHG cloth is OK to use, ask your child’s nurse about cleaning that area.
Do not use CHG cloths if your child:
- Is younger than 2 months old.
- Was premature (born too early) – Until 2 months after the original due date for delivery.
- Is allergic to chlorhexidine gluconate.
- Has severe skin breakdown or a rash, burn, or graft vs. host disease (GVHD).
- Is having radiation therapy.
- Is getting the chemotherapy drug Thiotepa.
Tips for using CHG cloths
- It is important to use CHG cloths every day while your child is in the hospital.
- Use cloths on your child’s skin from the neck down. Use regular soap or shampoo on the face and head.
- Your child’s skin might feel sticky or tacky for 1 to 2 minutes after you use CHG wipes. This is caused by a moisturizer in the cloths that helps keep your child’s skin from drying out. It might take extra time for the skin to dry in skin folds and creases, such as behind the knees, under the arms, and other areas where skin touches other skin areas.
- Do not rinse your child’s skin after using the CHG cloths. The CHG needs to stay on your child’s skin to keep killing germs. Ask your child’s nurse before you put any lotions, creams, moisturizers, or deodorant on your child.
- If your child takes a bath or shower, wait one (1) hour before using the CHG cloths.
- Be sure to throw the cloths in the trash after use. They can stain the bed linen and towels.
How to give your child a bath with CHG cloths
Use both sides of the cloth. Wipe your child’s skin for about 20 seconds per cloth, in a circle or using a back and forth motion.
- If your child has a central venous line, focus on cleaning the neck area. Germs can build up easily here.
- If your child is a boy with a urinary catheter, clean the head of the penis, avoiding the tip. Then wipe from the catheter towards the rest of the body for 6 inches in all directions.
- If your child is a girl with a urinary catheter, wipe gently outside and between the labia. Then wipe from the catheter toward the rest of the body for 6 inches in all directions.
- Do not rinse or wipe off your child’s skin after using the CHG wipes. Do not use towels to dry your child. Let the skin dry by itself in the air. Check that any skin folds do not stay wet. If you see any skin changes, rashes, or irritation before or after the bath, tell your child’s nurse.
- If your child has a bladder or bowel accident, use CHG cloths to clean your child’s skin. Also, clean after every diaper change.
- Your child’s nurse will give you enough cloths for the size of your child.
- Before you give your child a CHG bath, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. Then open the cloths package. Follow the steps below, depending on how many cloths you have.
If you have 2 cloths (child is less than 20 pounds), use:
- Cloth 1: For your child’s chest, neck, both arms, and back.
- Cloth 2: For both legs, buttocks, and the diaper area.
The picture above shows how to bathe your child if you have 2 of the CHG cloths. Follow the steps above.
If you have 4 cloths (child is 20–60 pounds), use:
- Cloth 1: For your child’s back, chest, and neck.
- Cloth 2: For both arms.
- Cloth 3: For both legs.
- Cloth 4: For the buttocks and diaper area.
The picture above shows how to bathe your child if you have 4 of the CHG cloths. Follow the steps above.
If you have 6 cloths (child is more than 60 pounds), use:
- Cloth 1: For your child’s chest, shoulders, and neck.
- Cloth 2: For armpits, arms, and hands.
- Cloth 3: For the belly area, lower belly, and diaper area.
- Cloth 4: For the right leg and foot.
- Cloth 5: For the left leg and foot.
- Cloth 6: For the back and buttocks.
The picture above shows how to bathe your child if you have 6 of the CHG cloths. Follow the steps above.
f you have questions or concerns about giving your child a bath with CHG wipes, talk to your child’s nurse.
This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.
St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.
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