A new study shows what those of us who grew up in the 1970’s and 1980’s already know: parents should let their kids get dirty.
Helicopter parents have grown very concerned with their children encountering germs, and experts say that has to change. It used to be that parent's thought the more they kept their children away from germs, the healthier their kids would be. Well, this no longer seems to be the case.
According to The National Post, the overuse of antiseptics may be harming kids more than helping them. There are also growing concerns about the overuse of antibiotics, and the subsequent rise of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs". Scientists have concerns, and are emphasizing how important it is for children to maintain a healthy population of good bacteria in their bodies. Researchers are starting to change their outlook on kids and germs.
Two Canadian microbiologists, Dr. Brett Finlay and Dr. Marie-Claire Arrieta, tackle this topic in their new book Let Them Eat Dirt: Saving Your Child From an Oversanitized World. Though a bit technical, it is a great guide for parents that don’t understand why the new research is so important.
They point out many of the reasons why it is important for kids to get dirty. They also clarify the issues with the overuse of antibacterials and antibiotics that are killing bacteria. For example, when a kid is raised extremely germ free, they may develop asthma or allergies later in life. The overuse of antiseptics can kill the bacteria in our bodies that prevent asthma. In simpler terms, by trying to keep their kids clean, a parent could do damage that will not show up until later in life. The main point: Let your kids get dirty!
“I think letting your kid roll around on your own floor and lick it and everything, that’s probably okay. But rolling around on the subway floor? Probably not a good idea,” said Finlay.
For the past couple of decades, doctors have been all about keeping kids clean and germ free. Now researchers believe too much cleanliness could be harmful to kids. Ask anyone who grew up making mud pies; there is nothing wrong with a little dirt! Parents should speak to their doctors if they are uneasy about the new findings.
What do you think about the new research?