It appears that bathing infants too often can trigger and worsen eczema. A British survey of 2000 parents reveal that today’s infants are twice as likely to suffer from skin problems than their parents. The survey found 37 per cent of baby boys and 33 per cent of baby girls had skin problems - more than double that of their parents’ generation.
Apparently, parents are ignoring advice to limit baths to two to three times a week due to concerns about keeping babies clean and germ free. Also, 60 per cent of mothers used antiseptic wipes on their children’s faces and hands, some more than five times a day. This is not a good idea as a baby’s skin is five times thinner than an adult’s and require very gentle treatment. High western standards of hygiene could be weakening the baby’s immune systems, resulting in a rise in allergy sufferers.
Coming from hot and humid Singapore, I’m not sure if parents here will warm up to the idea of not bathing their infants at least once a day. What I do know is that most of us use antiseptic wipes on our kids’ hands and faces and their bottoms. If it is really true that this is considered too high a hygiene standard and robbing our kids of building a strong immune system, then perhaps it’s time to stop or reduce the frequency of this practice. Just dab some water to a small towel or to a tissue paper to wipe whatever murk there is. There is no need for antiseptics, even though these may be convenient.