Baby wipes ‘as safe and effective’ as water’: Manchester university study contradicts government guidelines

By Matt Jones

A brand of baby wipes is as safe as using water on babies’ skin according to a University of Manchester study.

The discovery contradicts the advice of the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), who say that mums should use nothing more than water on newborns.

The University of Manchester study, conducted over three years on 280 newborn babies split into two groups, compared Johnson’s Baby Extra Sensitive Wipes with cotton wool and water.

Tina Lavender, Professor of Midwifery at the University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work and leader of the study, said: “Parents can now be confident that using this specific baby wipe, proven in the largest randomised clinical trial conducted in newborn cleansing, is equivalent to water alone.

“Our trial provides us with the strongest evidence available so far that we shouldn’t base our practice on tradition alone and that NICE needs to look at its current guidelines.”

The study was funded by Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Johnson’s Baby Wipes, but was carried out under strict, independent and impartial scientific procedures, including peer reviews and blind testing, and was approved both the ethics committee and Data Monitoring Committee.

The study also showed there was a small reduction in the occurrence of nappy rash when using the wipes as opposed to cotton wool and water.

Professor Lavender added: “These results should provide healthcare professionals with much needed evidence-based information, giving them the option to support the skin-care cleansing regime best suited to individual parents and their newborn babies.” 

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