Parenting Health

Body Odor In Your Child - How To Deal With It?

Janaki Srinivasan
7 to 11 years

Created by Janaki Srinivasan
Updated on Mar 03, 2021

Body Odor In Your Child How To Deal With It
Reviewed by Expert panel

Who says parenting is easy? It’s like being on a roller coaster ride 24/7, thrilling yet enjoyable. At each stage, a new challenge is thrown at you, suddenly. Therefore, it is always a good idea to browse through parenting sites to know, understand and prepare yourself to brace everyday challenges. One such problem that some kids face is body odor. It’s important to understand why it happens and what can be done?

What Causes Body Odor?

Children tend to be active all day, playing out with friends. Hence they sweat more than adults. But then, in children the smell is not as apparent. Most of the times, a wash can do wonders, but at other times, you might need medical intervention. Body odor is normally caused when bacteria acts upon sweat. There are two types of sweat glands:

  1. Eccrine sweat glands which release sweat when you have fever, when it is too hot or when you eat something really spicy. The sweat secreted by these glands maintains an ideal body temperature
  2. Apocrine glands release sweat when you indulge in heavy physical activity or when you are anxious, scared, stressed or are sexually stimulated. The sweat released from these glands is oily and odorless but may become smelly when they come in contact with the bacteria in the clothes or the skin

In children, sweat is produced by the Eccrine glands. Apocrine glands are activated after puberty

Also Read: Genital hygiene Guide : Teach Your Child

Is Body Odor Normal?

Most often children below 8 do not emit body odor. But those who are reaching puberty do emit a distinct odor. Body odor emanates from a particular part of the body such as feet, armpits or pubic region. Besides the smell you also notice sweating, cold hands and sweating even whilst sleeping at night and even noticeable loss of weight. Are these common? No.

At times, if the body odor is due to a severe medical problem, your child could complain of breathlessness, chest pain/heaviness, blurred vision and even confusion. These have to be immediately attended to. Consult your doctor if these symptoms occur, at once.

Causes Of Body Odor In Children:

What could be responsible for body odor in children? Only if we understand that, we can work towards a solution. Here are some of them.

  1. Hygiene:

    One of the primary causes of sweat and body odor is poor hygiene. Children must bathe every day and wash their underarms, pubic region and feet well to wash off the bacteria
  2. Foods:

    Some foods like onion, garlic, red meat, eggs etc. when consumed are digested and their smell seeps through the pores in the skin to emit an odor
  3. Puberty:

    During puberty, your child undergoes a lot of physical and hormonal changes and therefore there is a lot of change in their behavior and body language. Body odor during this phase is normal
  4. Medical reasons:

    Unusual sweating and body odor could sometimes be an indication of an underlying medical condition like, diabetes, liver/kidney problems, inflammation or even hyperhidrosis. You must check with your doctor if you feel the body odor is distinct
  5. Trimethylaminuria:

    Also called the fish odor syndrome is a rare condition in which excess flavin enzyme is produced. In this, the chemical trimethylaminuria does not break down into trimethylamine oxide. This leads to accumulation of the chemical which in turn results in smelly urine, sweat and even bad breath. This is a metabolic disorder in children

How To Prevent Body Odor In Children?

  • Have Regular Bath:

    As already mentioned, a daily bath is an absolute must for children. Talk to children about the importance of maintaining good hygiene and using clean towels, clothes and socks. They must know that it is necessary to have a daily bath and clean every part of the body, especially feet, underarms and groin area
  • Use Anti-Bacterial Soap:

    Bacteria in contact with sweat produces body odor. Therefore a good anti-bacterial soap is very essential to prevent bacteria
  • Add Lemon Juice in Bath Water:

    Lemon juice is known to increase the overall pH level in the body and prevent sweating. Adding a few drops of lemon juice to bath water is a great idea to prevent sweat. In fact, some drops of lemon juice can also be dabbed in the armpits to get rid of pungent body odor. Doing this even once a day is quite useful
  • Add Rosemary In Bath Water:

    You can boil rosemary and add it to your child’s bath water. Rosemary is rich in menthol and chlorophyll that fights toxins and bacteria that cause pungent odors in children. If you add a cup of rosemary, make your child soak in the water for at least 15 minutes. Alternately you could also use rosemary oil to the bath water
  • Add Tomato Juice In Bath Water:

    Strange as it may sound, tomato juice also has the capacity to fight toxins and bacteria that cause body odor in children. You could add 2 cups of tomato juice to the bath water and make your child soak in it for a few minutes
  • Use Apple Cider Vinegar:

    Dab a few drops of apple cider vinegar in a cotton ball and apply it on your child’s armpits. It keeps the area dry and helps fight body odor
  • Wear Clean Shoes and Inner Garments:

    It is very essential that children wear shoes that are clean and dry to prevent sweating and smelling. They must change their inner garments after bath every day to stay fresh
  • Stay Hydrated:

    Children must drink plenty of water to get rid of the toxins that are built up in the body
  • Watch Your Child’s Diet:

    It is a good idea to consume green leafy vegetables that can cleanse your body of harmful toxins. Also they should avoid excessive consumption of foods that cause odor like onions and garlic
  • Use Natural Deodorants:

    Though not the best idea, but sometimes, using deodorants can avoid an embarrassing situation. Make sure the deodorants are natural and anti- allergic

If none of the above methods work, you must consult a doctor at once because it could be due to a serious medical condition. Stay safe and kick away the bad odor!

Did you like the blog? Did you find it useful? Please share your thoughts, ideas and feedbacks with us in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you.


This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Mar 28, 2018

quite handy tips for growing children!! thank u so much for sharing!

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| Mar 30, 2018

easy to apply.. thanks for such informative blog

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| Mar 31, 2018

Sabhi jankari hindi me bataiye

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| Oct 16, 2018

thanks for sharing

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