[This story was originally published on November 19, 2018]
It seems like there's an ongoing debate about how often is really necessary to give your child a bath. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.
So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?
There is no scientific or biological answer to how often you shouldbathe your child. During pre-modern times, parents hardly ever bathed their children. The modern era made it a societal norm to bathe your child daily.
Many babies and toddlers, especially those who aren't walking yet, don't need to be washed with soap every day. If a child has dry, sensitive skin, parents should wash their child with a mild soap once a week.
On other nights, the child may simply soak or rinse off in a lukewarm, plain water bath if they are staying fairly clean. Additionally, parents can soak their children in a water bath without soap most nights or as needed as part of a routine.
Many problems with sensitive, irritated skin are made worse by bathing habits that unintentionally dry out the skin too much. Soaking in a hot bath for long periods of time and scrubbing will lead to dry skin. Additionally, many existing skin conditions will worsen if you over-scrub your child or use drying, perfumed soaps.
Some skin conditions, like childhood eczema (atopic dermatitis), are not caused by dirt or lack of hygiene. Therefore, parents do not need to scrub the inflamed areas. Scrubbing will cause dry, sensitive skin to become even more dry.
Some best practices for bath time for kids who have dry, itchy, sensitive skin or eczema include.
Originally posted onChildren's National Health System's Rise and Shine .
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