Bathing babies too often may cause skin
problems such as eczema and rashes, experts warn.
Today's infants are twice as likely to suffer from skin problems than
their parents, a British survey of 2000 parents has found. And scientists
in Europe have found infants who swim regularly in chlorinated indoor
pools are more at risk of developing asthma and bronchitis.
Child-care experts say parents are ignoring advice to limit baths to
two to three times a week due to concerns about keeping babies clean and
The British Mother And Baby magazine survey found six out of 10 babies
were bathed every day, 20 per cent were bathed every other day and only 19
per cent were bathed the recommended two to three times a week.
In addition, 60 per cent of mothers used
antiseptic wipes on their
children's faces and hands, some more than five times a day.
Mother And Baby editor Elena Dalrymple said a baby's skin was five
times thinner than an adult's and required very gentle treatment.
"It's not a good idea to bath baby every day. Two or three times a week
is plenty," she said.
Anne O'Neill, a dermatologist at the Children's Hospital at Westmead,
said babies did not get dirty until they began crawling.
"We really don't have to be quite as fastidious unless the child has an
immune deficiency," she said.
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.
Meanwhile, a European study published in the journal Pediatrics this
month found exposure to chemicals in indoor swimming pools might alter the
lining of the lungs, predisposing infants to airway disease in later
The lead author, Alfred Bernard of Belgium's National Fund for
Scientific Research, said a possible culprit was the chemical
trichloramine, a by-product of the chlorine used to clean public