hand washing

Why Your Kids Should Eat More Dirt

Dear Mr. Dad: We’re a few months away from becoming parents for the first time and we’ve been sanitizing our house to prepare it for our baby. We’ve got antibacterial soaps all over the place—no one’s going to touch our baby with dirty hands! We’re planning to give away our dog—we’ve had him for a long time and he’s very sweet, but we’re afraid that our new baby will develop allergies. What else should we be doing to clean up?

A: Nothing. In fact, you’re already doing too much. The steps you’re taking to keep your baby clean and allergy-free could end up backfiring.

Let’s start with antibacterial soaps. A growing body of research is finding that humans—especially babies—need to be exposed to germs in order to build a healthy immune system. Antibacterial soaps interfere with that process. As a result, their immune systems never get any practice fighting off germs, so when a child finally does come in contact with some serious germs, his or her immune system has no idea what to do.

By killing too many germs, antibacterial soaps may be contributing to the “superbug” problem that’s affecting our healthcare system. Superbugs are microbes that have become resistant to antibiotics. One of the culprits is an ingredient called triclosan, which has been banned in Europe for a number of years. Triclosan is hormone disruptor and has been linked to lower-than-normal testosterone levels in boys.

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Photo credit: pixabay.com

Armin Brott

View posts by Armin Brott
Armin Brott is the proud father of three, a former U.S. Marine, a best-selling author, radio host, speaker, and one of the country’s leading experts on fatherhood. He writes frequently about fatherhood, families, and men's health. Read more about Armin or visit his website, mrdad.com. You can also connect via social media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest,  and Linkedin.

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