What you must know about the importance of genital hygiene for kids
Overlooking the importance of genital hygiene of our children can lead to terrible consequences. Read on to find out how to teach your children to keep their nether regions clean and germ-free!
We were having one of those mum conversations over latte. It was pretty light-hearted until my friend suddenly froze for a second before telling me never to underestimate the importance of genital hygiene for kids. Her son had recently been hospitalised for a bacterial infection that resulted from improper cleaning of his, you know. Oh the horror!
Genital hygiene for kids is really important. Otherwise, they fall prey to certain types of illnesses. You see, the nether regions are an ideal place for germs to breed. So do make sure that you explain this to your children.
Also, if you are a busy working parent, and your helper or the grandparents shower your children, it's important that you check their private parts every now and then.
From a young age, we repeatedly emphasise to our kids that they should wash their hands, face and hair. We keep spraying hand sanitisers and telling them to rub their hands with it to kill germs. But we really need to place more emphasis on the importance of genital hygiene for kids, from a young age, so that they form good habits early on.
Genital hygiene for kids is especially important when they are between the age of 6 to 11 as this is when their private areas begin to develop.
- Penis tip - once the area beneath the foreskin can move easily, it it needs to be cleaned regularly. Show your boy how to gently move it back and clean the area. Take caution not to force the foreskin away from the tip, in due time, it will start moving back.
- No soap - remind your boy not to soap the area below the foreskin. It is an extremely delicate area and you don't want to irritate it. If you see some white substances there, it's called smegma and it's nothing to worry about. It's something the body secretes naturally and you can easily wash it away while bathing.
- Infections - look out for groin ringworm or jock itch. These are fungal infections that occur more when the weather is warm. It also happens if your boy wears clothes that are too tight and the genital area doesn't get proper ventilation. Symptoms include redness, blister and itching.
- Nothing extra - the vagina cleans itself so apart from regular washing, the vagina doesn't need additional care.
- Don't insert anything - inserting anything into the vagina (such as a loofah for cleaning) could damage the delicate skin. It also allows germs to get in and infect the area. So emphasise to your girl to be very gentle and careful with her lady bits.
- Front to back motion - remember, clean from front to back. This is to avoid any bacteria from the anal area coming into contact with the urethra or vagina.
- Period talk - as they get slightly older, talk to them about menstrual cycles and how important it is to take care of their genitals during that time. Remind them that it's not advisable to clean the area too much during a period. Ideally, once a day is fine. Don't forget to teach your girls about changing their sanitary pads and tampons regularly!
As they get older, they may become more reluctant to talk about their genital areas, let alone hygiene. It's best that you talk to them about the importance of overall cleanliness and hygiene, and weave in the importance of genital hygiene of kids.
For the younger ones, explain to them that there is bacteria all over their body and they feed on dead cells (like sweat). Bacteria causes unpleasant odours and no one wants to be around someone who smells bad. Therefore, they should clean themselves regularly to get rid of bacteria and smell good and stay healthy!
Remember, never underestimate the importance of genital hygiene for kids. It's really not fun to get infected down there!