Does your child need to bathe every day?
Daily bathing or showering is a routine for many of us – and for our children too. But is it really necessary?
The short answer is no.
Obviously, there are days when the dishes make sense – like your child is dirty after a day in the dirt; covered in sweat, paint or other visible dirt; or had explosive poo. It is also a good idea to bathe if your child has spent the day in a swimming pool (chlorine can be irritating to the skin), a body of water (there might be things in the water that are irritating. or unhealthy), or covered with an insect repellent to repel ticks and mosquitoes. And certainly, it’s best for everyone around when a smelly teenager takes a soapy shower.
Sometimes a doctor may recommend a daily bath for certain skin conditions. And we all need to wash our hands regularly to avoid infections. But to wash your whole body just to wash yourself? Not really.
Why not give a child a bath every day?
Many baths can lead to dry, itchy skin. But also, the skin contains natural protective oils and natural bacteria that help us stay healthy and safe – and which can be washed away by a daily bath.
If your baby or preteen looks clean enough, doesn’t stink, isn’t covered in bug spray, and hasn’t been in a pool or other body of water, it’s okay to skip the bath or the shower. Really, swimming two or three times a week is good. In fact, for many children, even once or twice a week is enough. You can always do a quick wipe with a damp washcloth on your face, groin, and dirty spots.
Smelly teens may need more baths or showers, depending on activity level and deodorant use. But even they can get by by washing their face and using a soapy washcloth on their groin and armpits.
Tips for a healthy bath
When bathing children, here are some tips for healthy bathing.
- Do not use hot water, use lukewarm water instead.
- Keep it short – preferably just enough time to wash.
- Avoid antibacterial soaps and bubble baths. Use mild, unscented soap and shampoo.
- Make sure the bath is supervised for all babies and toddlers.
- Dry rather than scrubbing to dry. If your child tends to have dry skin, it may help to use a mild, unscented oily moisturizer after bathing.
If your child has eczema or any other skin condition, see your doctor for personalized advice on how to bathe your child.
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