Bathing Your Child
March 6, 2018
Cleanliness, it is said, is next to godliness. For some children, it’s also next to impossible. Some parents’ efforts to keep their children clean include a daily bath.
“Depending on their age and activity level, most children only need a bath a few times a week,” said board-certified dermatologist Robert Sidbury, MD, MPH, FAAD, associate professor, Department of Pediatrics and division chief of dermatology, University of Washington School of Medicine. “For children, a few germs here and there are healthy, as this is how their bodies learn to fight off bacteria and build stronger immune systems.”
Here are Dr. Sidbury’s recommendations for children six to eleven years old:
• Age: In general, children ages 6 to 11 only need to bathe two to three times per week.
• Hair type: Children ages 6 to 11 generally only have to shampoo their hair once or twice a week until puberty starts. However, children of African descent or children of any age with dry or curly hair only need to shampoo their hair once every seven to ten days. After sweating heavily or swimming, they can rinse and condition their hair and continue to shampoo regularly once every seven to ten days.
• Activity level: In addition to their regular schedule, children should bathe and wash their hair whenever they get dirty, such as playing in the mud; after being in a pool, lake, ocean, or other body of water; and whenever they get sweaty or have body odor.
• Puberty: When puberty hits around age 12, children should start showering daily and shampooing their hair every other day or daily. The exception to this is children of African descent and children with dry or curly hair. By age 12, these children may bathe daily and continue to shampoo their hair once every seven to ten days. Around this time, children should also start washing their faces every morning and evening to remove dirt and oil.
American Academy of Dermatology, 09/16