Should our kids take a bath every day?

Do you give your child a bath every day? Here is everything you should know about personal hygiene to keep the whole family clean!

Hygiene for babies

New parents rarely ask themselves the question and assume babies have to be given a bath every day since they couldn’t imagine not showering themselves. However, in a document prepared by the Canadian Public Health Association intended for parents, they reveal that there is no need to bathe your baby every day since, over time, doing so may dry their skin because the soap removes the natural protection of the skin.

Obviously, baby must be clean even if you don’t give them a bath, so always wash their face and neck with a washcloth after they regurgitate and after feedings. Also, it's very important to clean their genitals after each diaper change. If you have a newborn, it’s recommended that you clean the umbilical cord three times a day using cotton swabs soaked in water. Dry the area with cotton swabs. You don’t need to wash baby’s hair more than once or twice a week.

Personal hygiene for children and teenagers

As children grow, their activity level increases and when puberty hits, their body produces more sweat than when they were little, sometimes generating unpleasant smells! In addition to the smell, sweat actually contributes to the growth of microbes that can increase the risk of developing an infection. It’s important that they have good personal hygiene to avoid these things, which means taking a shower or a bath after each physical activity and wearing clean clothes and underwear. When they hit puberty, they can start using a deodorant or an antiperspirant to help reduce odors when they are active.

Advice from a mom: If you don’t bathe your child every day, and you suddenly start insisting on the importance of a daily shower, your teen may be reluctant and not understand the reasons for your requests. Take the time to teach them about the importance of personal hygiene as soon as possible to avoid this situation.

While it is important to wash properly after exercise, we shouldn’t abuse either. In an interview with the French newspaper La Presse, Doctor Ari Demirjian, dermatologist at the McGill Hospital in Montreal, says that « If you are not dirty and did not sweat, you don’t have to wash your entire body with soap. Use it for your genitals, your armpits and your feet. For the rest, like the legs, stomach and arms, the use of water to rinse your body is sufficient. Using too much soap when you don’t have to can actually kill the good bacteria our body needs. »

Tips to keep your skin healthy
  • It’s best to shower or take a bath in warm water as opposed to hot water, which dries the skin.
  • Focus on liquid cleansers that are less abrasive and easier to rinse off properly. Avoid perfumed soaps.
  • If you have dry skin, taking a bath with warm water can help to hydrate your skin. Keep your body immersed in the water 5 to 10 minutes to allow time for your skin to absorb the water.
  • After bathing, dry your skin by patting it with a towel. Do not rub.
  • Apply a moisturizer on your skin and deodorant or antiperspirant under your armpits.
The Canadian Publich Health Association estimates that 80 % of common infections like the cold and the flu are spread by the hands. To prevent spreading of germs, we should wash our hands several times a day. To wash your hands properly, you must rub them together for at least 20 seconds so the soap produces foam and then rinse your hands for another 10 seconds. The Association recommends the use of liquid soap instead of bars of soap that tend to attract germs.
Washing your hair

The frequency with which we should wash our hair depends on several factors, including our hair type, our lifestyle and our environment. If you choose to wash your hair daily, use a mild shampoo made for adults to prevent getting a dry scalp.

How to wash your hair properly:
  • Wet hair and apply a small amount of shampoo on your head
  • Massage your scalp with your fingertips making small circular motions
  • Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of shampoo that could cause itching or irritation of the scalp.
  • Dry the hair by wrapping them in a towel

Sources: Canadian Public Health Association, Ease Program – Eczema Awareness,Canadian Dermatology Association.

Image de Mariem Melainine

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