Children with an Ostomy

Children with an Ostomy

There are many conditions that can lead to an ostomy. Ostomy surgery can occur at any age, including newborns.  While most ostomies in children are temporary, there are some conditions that require a permanent ostomy.  Even if you do not work in a pediatric setting, it is important to have a basic understanding of how ostomy care is different for infants and children.

Child with an ostomy

Infant skin

Because the skin in infants is much more permeable, the frequency of pouch changes and products that we use for ostomy care is different than for adults.  Adults typically change their pouch once every 3-4 days.  But for infants, this needs to be done every 1-2 days.  It’s important to educate parents on avoiding using lotions, creams and oils as it can not only be irritating to the peristomal skin, but it can also make it harder for the pouch to stick.

Diapering vs Pouching

One thing I have noticed a lot of confusion on is whether a diaper or pouch should be used.  In short, all fecal stomas need to be pouched, but urinary stomas can be diapered depending on the surgery and location.  When using a pouch, you can choose to tuck the pouch into the diaper or leave it outside.  For infants with a pouch, you can consider using a onesie as this will help prevent the baby from accidentally pulling off the pouch.

To learn more about ostomy management and caring for the pediatric population, check out our ostomy management certification course .


Jeffrey Despommier, OTR, OMS, CUA, ATP


About the author – Jeffrey is an occupational therapist with over 15 years of rehabilitation experience. He is board certified as a urologic associate and ostomy management specialist.  He also specializes in complex rehab technology and is board certified as an assistive technology professional.

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