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It is the question on many parents minds: when do I need to start worrying about deodorant for kids? No parent wants their kid to be the stinky kid, but parents are often left wondering if there is an age that is too young for kids to wear deodorant, a set age when kids should start wearing it, or certain deodorant that they should use. Unfortunately, there is not a hard and fast rule on when kids should start using deodorant. The age a kid needs to start wearing deodorant is going to be a little different for every kid.
The Beginning of Body Odor
So when do you need to start paying attention? Body odor often starts around the same time as puberty, which is typically somewhere between the ages of 8-13 in girls and 9-15 in boys. Body odor is caused by sweat coming into contact with bacteria on the skin. When kids start to reach puberty, their sweat glands become more active, so they start having more body odor.
That is not to say that body odor means your third grader is starting puberty. It is not uncommon for the hormones that kick start the development of sweat glands to become active before puberty starts. That means you probably have a few more years before you have to worry about armpit hair and acne.
When to Start Using Deodorant
The basic rule of thumb is pretty simple – kids need to start wearing deodorant when they start to smell stinky. If they are sweating, at some point they will start to smell too. You will most likely notice it for the first time after they have been doing any sort of physical activity (running around outside, playing on the playground, or playing sports). Once you start to notice some body odor smells, it is time to buy some deodorant!
That does not mean you need to start smelling your kid’s armpits every time they go outside to play. You will notice it. Don’t be surprised if this happens around fourth grade. It may seem young, but it’s around the time teachers often start to notice a funky smell after the kids come in from recess.
Practicing Good Hygiene
Once you start to notice the undeniable stinky kid smell, start with a talk about good hygiene. Make sure they are washing – with soap – under their armpits, around their private parts, and in all their crevices. Make sure they are doing this every time they take a bath or a shower. If your kids are younger, you may find that a little refresher on hygiene might take care of the body odor for now. It is not a bad idea to go ahead and couple that hygiene talk with introducing deodorant to your kids. If you can get your kids used to putting on deodorant every day when they are just starting to have body odor, you have the potential to avoid a stinkier situation later.
Deodorant for Kids
When it is time to pick out a deodorant, many brands make deodorant for kids that do not include the harsh chemicals found in many products that could irritate your little one’s sensitive skin. For instance, Tom’s of Maine makes its Wicked Cool Deodorant especially for kids in Freestyle for boys and Summer Fun for girls. But any of their products would make a good choice. They all contain natural ingredients and are free of aluminum, parabens, and artificial fragrance, all of which are often found in products on the market today.
It is stressful trying to decide when you should introduce your kids to deodorant. Like much of parenting, there isn’t a hard and fast rule on when to start using deodorant, and that can make parents second guess themselves. So fear not. As soon as you are in the car on the way home from soccer practice or you have let your kids spend a summer afternoon running around on the playground and you smell the undeniable smell of body odor, you will know it’s time.
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