There are several conditions that can cause bad armpit odor in a preschooler, toddler or grade school child.
However, armpit odor in a toddler gets the most attention because, well, isn’t a toddler too young to have noticeable underarm odor?
“When toddlers eat certain foods, especially if they eat it all the time, their body can do funny things,” says Joel Gator Warsh, MD, of Integrative Pediatrics and Medicine, Studio City, CA, and part of the pediatric staff of Cedars-Sinai Hospital.
“Eat enough carrots and you might get an orange tinge to your skin.
“Certain foods can cause your child’s odor to change. If a child is sensitive to wheat, dairy, garlic or other foods, it can affect the armpit odor.
“Consider changing their diet and eliminating foods that are the most likely culprits.
“There is a condition called hyperhidrosis which causes excess sweating. Excessive sweating can lead to armpit odors. Consider an antiperspirant. Epsom salt baths have also been shown to help.
“If you notice any abnormal bumps in the armpits, especially if there is pain, swelling or redness, you should consider an infection of the sweat glands. You should see your physician to rule this out.
“If you are noticing other changes such as abnormal hair growth, sexual organ changes or voice changes [in a child younger than 10], it would be reasonable for your pediatrician to look into premature puberty.
“In rare cases, children younger than 8-9 can begin pubertal changes.
“Body odor could be the first sign. This would be an uncommon cause of early body odor but something you should rule out.”
Of course, pubertal changes wouldn’t occur in a toddler, but if you have a young grade schooler who has noticeable odor coming from the underarms, this may be a sign of early pubertal changes.
Dr. Warsh and his Studio City, Los Angeles clinic treat a wide array of common pediatric issues using holistic and conventional treatments. He works with nutritionists, naturopaths, Ayurvedic practitioners, acupuncturists and more.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.