Children are sweet, helpless creatures who still have so much to learn about the world. Their minds and bodies are growing fast, in amazing ways. Unfortunately, these hapless youngsters also encounter bodily changes that are hard for adults to comprehend. Piano teacher Alicia Notarianni made this analysis one day:
“On several occasions,an adorable child has come to my home, removed her shoes and taken a seat at my piano bench. Within seconds, an odor begins to waft, gently, confusingly, into the air surrounding her. I tend to think, ‘Surely this offensive blight cannot be emitted by the feet of a child who otherwise inspires such great affection. But again and again, it has proven to be true.'”
If your child’s stinky feet are driving you crazy, continue reading for tips on getting through this stage of life.
Why Do Kids’ Feet Smell?
Is that a salt-and-vinegar potato chip or a sack of old cheese? No, no… it’s just your child’s malodorous tootsies.
There are several things every parent should know about kids’ feet:
1. Hormonal changes can cause an increase in sweating. Additionally, children are always active, which causes greater perspiration as the body tries to regulate its temperature. Like an adult, a child has 250,000 sweat glands in the feet, but kids’ feet sweat two to three times more than adult feet! So, that means a lot of moisture is seeping out into your child’s socks and shoes all day, every day! Sweat itself doesn’t stink, but the moisture saturates and feeds bacteria living on the body and in the footwear… and that is what causes the pungent stench afflicting your nostrils!
2. Children’s shoes are often made of cheap material. You would think given the propensity for a child’s foot to sweat that shoe manufacturers would create more breathable shoes to keep the feet dry. Yet, such is not the case! Often, shoes are made cheaply out of plastic, rubber or polyurethane. According to the Scranton Times-Tribune, “Breathable materials — leather, cloth, canvas or newer mesh materials — are ideal for the upper part of your child’s shoe, but you should avoid synthetic materials, especially plastics. To absorb excessive perspiration, the insole, which is inside the shoe, should be made of absorbent material.”
3. Kids go through footwear faster. Because kids are so active, so sweaty, and doing so much in their shoes during the day, the soft lining on the inside of the shoe degrades and wears down faster than you may think. This breakdown of the shoe structure can cause the shoe to dry slower and smell a bit more.
4. Children come into contact with all sorts of microbes. One of the first things parents note is that the whole family tends to take more sick days once the kids are of school age. Whether they’re at school or the playground, children come into contact with all sorts of bacteria, fungus and pathogens. Foot infections like athlete’s foot fungus are common among children.
Tips To Stop Stinky Feet In Children
Richard N. Goad DPM, a pediatric podiatrist from Texas, offers these tips on reducing foul foot odor in children:
– Bathe often: Police your child’s bathing habits to make sure leftover dead bacteria is washed away.
– Stay dry: Try a topical treatment like Certain-Dri (which is similar to anti-perspirant) to reduce moisture.
– Wick away moisture: Moisture-wicking socks are important. Opt for white socks. Change twice daily.
– Avoid contagions: Have your child wear shower shoes at water parks, school locker rooms and bath houses.
– Sanitize footwear: Sanitize the inner sole of the shoe that comes into contact with the sock and foot to get rid of bacterial build-up and cut down on the smell.
If these tactics do not work, you may need to see a podiatrist, says Dr. Goad.
SteriShoe is a UV shoe sanitizer. To use, you simply place one device inside each shoe, close the shoes up in a protective shoe bag (that prevents human exposure to UV rays), and click the “on” switch. The devices will automatically turn off after a 45-minute cycle — at which point 99.9% of the bacteria, fungus, viruses and other microbes will be killed. In the absence of live microbes, you’ll notice that the shoes smell fresher and nicer — and that your child’s feet are much more lovable once again!