Kids and Body Odor

Parent Q&A

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  • 7yo daughter's BO

    (8 replies)

    My daughter is 7 3/4 years old. My husband and I have been noticing BO from her armpits. Yesterday after picking her up from tennis I noticed a pungent BO smell coming from her. I am not sure if I should be concerned. If you have any advise or information could you please let me know? 

    Thank so much!

    mom of a sweet daughter. 


    I am in the same boat with my 7 year old. She just turned 7 in January. I too was freaked out and emailed her doctor who told me that it is common and asked all the time. She let me know that she was able to use deodorant as long as it wasn’t an antiperspirant. We sometimes also do baby powder which helps too. I got her a Toms natural deodorant and have her use it on really hot or active days. She is not always stinky but definitely on a hot day or active day I will smell it. Hope to hear more from others. 

    My first thought is that she is probably getting close to puberty- this is when my kids started having noticeable body odor. 

    My second thought- perhaps her clothing is not "breathing? " have a few shirts that seem to cause me to smell and I am sure it is the material.

    Ha!  This happened with my girl too- a month after she turned 8!  I too was freaked out but my pediatrician said she will need to wash (with soap) under her arms more frequently and start using a deodorant (and that it was not a sign of early puberty necessarily).  We went to Pharmica and got a natural one that she liked the smell of (it took 3 kinds to find one that worked for her).  On top of regular bath/showers she checks her underarms in the morning and if she is stinky she will wipe herself down with a washcloth and soap before putting on deodorant (or beg me to do it if it is cold).  She doesn't like doing this and will fib sometimes if I ask her if she did it.  She is now 9 1/2 and last week at camp there was a girl who had underarm bo and she was reinvigorated to remember.  She does not want to be that girl!  


    Ask your pediatrician if it could be her adrenal glands or andronarchy (sp?). I don't know if it is something to be concerned with but its good to alert your pediatrician and be monitored. Good Luck.

    First, make sure she is properly washing armpits during bath/shower time.

    Second, get her a stick of Schmidt’s deodorant. It is the ONLY “hippy”/natural deodorant that has ever worked for me and I will never use anything else again.  Don’t give her anything with aluminum (the standard antiperspirants). Schmidt’s makes unscented, which may be best for a kid, my fave is rose and vanilla though. You can find it at Berkeley Bowl or Whole Foods for ~$8.

    To deal with BO, make sure she is wearing cotton tops. Try using cornstarch as a deodorant. Sometimes simple things work best. To lengthen the time to menarche, you can try several things. To reduce the amount of hormones in food, buy organic meat and milk. To reduce the amount of hormones in personal care products, make sure that they are fragrance-free and phthalate-free. To reduce to exposure to artificial light, enforce bedtimes, get rid of nightlights, and get blackout curtains for the bedroom. 

    My daughter's left armpit started to produce BO at 9 months old! We bought natural deodorant powder initially. Now at 5, she uses any variety of non-aluminum based deodorants (as do I--my personal fav is Soapwalla deodorant cream and currently she's using Lavanila). In addition to washing under her arms, we occasionally swipe a cotton ball with apple cider vinegar to address the bacteria that causes the odor. 

    I second the June 19 suggestion of Schmidt's stick deodorant - it's absolutely the only natural ingredient I've found to work after trying just about everything out there.  However, since my family started using Purely Northwest Tea Tree Oil Foot & Bodywash, we go can go days without deodorant. I was very skeptical of the over-the-top glowing reviews of the Tea Tree Oil Bodywash on Amazon, but we've been using it to wash our underarms, and the stink is gone. Using the body wash while bathing and Schmidt's in the morning has done the trick for us and I hope one or both work for your daughter!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

7-year-old daughter needs deodorant

Sept 2006

I have a 7-year-old daughter that has started to emit natural odors that I have not addressed until now, In the past I just had her shower and that solved the problem. Now, I'm considering having her put on deodorant everyday but, I don't know what to choose, there are so many choices out there. I would also like to know if I should be buying an anti- perspirant because of her age. I have put in a call to her doctor for some guidelines but have not heard back yet.

I have a FUN idea, since there are questionable ingredients in anti-perspirants. Why not make a homemade deodorant that is natural and works? Use also as perfume and room freshener, and ta-da, your daughter has her very own deodorant and personalized perfume.

I like to make intricate blends, but you can keep it very simple too. Here's the recipe:

1 4-ounce spray bottle 3 parts Vodka 1 part Distilled Water Essential Oils of Choice

It's non-toxic. The alcohol kills body odor-causing bacteria. Vodka is recommended because odorless. 5-10 drops each of preferred EOs. Shake. The longer it stands, the more the water dissipates the oils evenly. Or just shake before spraying.

Mint cancels odors and Lavender is antiviral/antibacterial. Leave your email if you want various nice-smelling concoctions - I can share scent-combination ideas Smells nice!

Body odor in 6-year-old girl

May 2006

My 6 year old sometimes has body odor under her arms after vigorous activity. I'm probably the only one who can smell it- because I get up so close to her but it seems so young to me! She is definately not near puberty in any other observable way. I read the posts from 2003 and she only drinks organic milk and always has so it cannot be that. Any ideas or suggestions? anonymous

My daughter began with body odor and underarm hair at 7 years old. Went to the pediatrician. She said it was nothing to worry about -- some kids just get this earlier. Usually public hair is first but not always. So I had to have the talk with her about deoderant and I shave her armpits maybe every three weeks. She dances competitively and I think she needs to be clean shaven. Also I don't want other kids talking. It was awkward for me but I'm not worried about it anymore Mom of three girls
When my daughter was 6 or 7 she smelled like an onion! I was very concerned that she was beginning puberty at a very young age, but not so. Have her pediatrician rule out any gland issues, but in my daughter's case her sweat glands just started a little early. She began using deodorants early on, but that was the extent of it. laurie
You should definitely check with your doctor. One thing that came to my mind --my sister had an under active thyroid as a child and body odor was one of the symptoms. good luck
I don't have any advice -- I actually was thinking about posting about this as well. My 7 year old son gets really stinky when he's active and hot. Certainly no signs of puberty, but it does seem young for body odor. I'm seriously thinking about getting him some deoderant.
My daughter also has this problem - beginning when she was about 7. I took her to the pedicatrician who confirmed that no, she was not starting puberty early, and just said it's one of those things. She's been using deodorant ever since - and actually recently (she's now 10) her smell seems to not be so obvious, so guess it's just some anomaly that we ended up living with parent of a smelly daughter.
I'm so glad that you wrote this....I too, have a 6 year old girl with body odor. I have been concerned because sometimes it's stronger than other times and bathing doesn't seem to make any difference. My daughter too, also drinks only organic milk but she does eat meat... She likes all different kinds and I have wondered if maybe that is what is contributing to the body odor. Then I started wondering if it is a similar thing to baby acne, where every pore/sweat gland needs to open up, thus the acne. I can't help but think that it must have some sort of hormonal component
A Wondering Mom

Should 9-year-old use deodorant?

Dec 2003

Just want to hear from all of you if anti-perspirant is in order for my 9 year old. I don't remember having body odor at that age, but then again my memory may be foggy. Do I use deodorant at this age or just grin and bear it. thanks anonymous

Our p.e. coach started talking to us kids about deodorant around 4th or 5th grade... surely not stinky!

6-year-old has underarm odor

I am wondering if anyone has come across such a phenomenon. I was always told that young children have no odor under the arms, for their sweat glands are not fully developed. Yet, I find that my 6 year old daughter does indeed perspire under her arms and clearly has an odor that results. It is not particularly offensive (I would never dream of using anything on her underarms) and it isn't really noticible unless one puts one's face up close. It is just bizarre to discover and I wonder if anyone else has found this to be true of their pre-pre-pubescent youngster.
My daughter also began to have underarm odor at an early age (maybe 7 or 8). The pediatrician said it was at the young end, but not beyond normal, with children sometimes starting puberty at 9. This was reassuring, but soon after that conversation I realized that this had coincided with the change in hormone use in cows. I switched my family to milk that did not include the hormone (BST?). Within a couple of weeks, the underarm odor went away. AFter a month or so, I began going back to the milk that was not guaranteed hormone free, because it saved extra trips to the store. Within two weeks, her underarm odor was back. Despite the fact that studies say this stuff is harmless, I am now a confirmed buyer of dairy products from cows who were not fed hormones. My daughter began showing other signs of puberty at a more normal age, 11, and only started menstruating at 12.
Some weeks ago someone talked about unusual body odor in young kids and attributed it in her child to the hormones in milk. Because of her suggestion I switched to organic milk. My nine year old son's body odor disappeared. I was amazed, delighted (he doen't love baths and washing up) and very thankful. Dawn
When my oldest son was in the 3rd grade I noticed that he was getting stinky, especially his feet. He was nowhere near puberty so I couldn't figure out why he should be sweating and starting to have BO. He actually wasn't perspiring under his arms, but he smelled like a grown-up. I was concerned enough to mention it to his teacher. She laughed and said she has to open all the windows in her classroom sometimes because the stink gets so strong from all the kids. I guess 3rd grade is just when it starts. From then on, there was a period of 3 or 4 years where I cared a lot more about their personal hygiene than they did, so I had to be on them all the time about bathing and changing clothes. But things improved suddenly somewhere in middle school. When puberty really kicked in, they started showering and grooming and primping and monopolizing the bathroom.
I have two kids, ages 7 & 5. They both have had the same exact body odor smell under their arms...I have now switched them to organic milk and so far, the smell has vanished!! It's been about 5 days and it seems to be gone already! Thanks so much for the suggestion. Lysa (Oct 2004)