It can come as a big surprise to many parents when their new baby, or small toddler, suddenly displays sweaty feet. Some moms might notice that their baby’s feet are damp and clammy while they’re breastfeeding, while others find themselves shocked as they pull sweat-drenched socks from their kid’s feet.
This problem isn’t unusual in teenagers or adults. But if your child has sweaty feet, is it normal?
In the majority of cases, yes. But it’s always worth looking into.
Why Do Little Kids Sweat So Much?
Here are a few reasons why your child might have sweaty feet, and why little people tend to sweat so much:
1. Newborn babies, just like adults, use sweat to regulate their body temperature. The difference is that babies are not able to regulate their body temperature as efficiently as adults. So, they may sweat more often.1
2. When babies are born, their sweat glands
kick in for the first time. When they do, they suddenly have 6 ½ times more sweat glands per square inch than adults! So, when a baby’s core body temperature rises even a small amount (which can happen when they feed), they start sweating. This commonly starts from the head, but it can eventually spread out to extremities, like the feet.2
3. You may find that your baby sweats profusely during their nap times. Provided you haven’t overdressed them, this is usually because they sweat in the deepest part of their sleep cycle. Adults also sweat during deep sleep.3
4. Toddlers and small children are extremely active, so they tend to sweat – just like anyone that’s very active. Plus, they still have more sweat glands per square inch, compared to adults. If your child has sweaty feet, don’t forget that their little feet stay bundled up in shoes and socks all day long. This will tend to make their feet sweat, and even smell, more.4
5. It’s easy to worry that your baby is too hot or too cold – after all, their little bodies aren’t so great at temperature regulation. But overdressing them can be a major trigger for excessive sweating, and it can also be dangerous. You should always keep your baby comfortable, without bundling them up in too many layers. Experts advise that you dress them as you would dress yourself– comfortably warm, not too hot or cold – appropriate to the room temperature.5
6. Finally, some babies and kids naturally sweat more than others, just like adults. So, if your child has sweaty feet, they may just take after a parent.6
However, if you have any concerns that your child has excessively sweaty feet, it’s always best to talk to your doctor or pediatrician. Your child may have hyperhidrosis.
By itself, hyperhidrosis isn’t a major issue for kids, but occasionally, it can be an indicator of a more serious condition.
What is hyperhidrosis?
Hyperhidrosis is a condition distinguished by excessive sweating. Excessive sweating is defined as more sweat than is needed to regulate your body’s core temperature. When the feet are affected, it’s known as Primary Focal Hyperhidrosis – and it’s common for this to start in early childhood.7
As a stand-alone condition, hyperhidrosis just means someone who “sweats a lot.” However, this excessive sweating can be a symptom of another medical condition. It may also be genetic. Once other conditions are ruled out, a doctor will focus on how to help your child control this excessive sweating.8
Both a doctor and a dermatologist can help to find some suitable help for your child’s hyperhidrosis, especially if the sweating is impeding their lifestyle. What can be done if your child has sweaty feet? Some of the most common treatments for small children include:9
- Special antiperspirants that prevent sweating by mechanically blocking the sweat glands.
- Oral medications that block the nerve path of the sweat glands.
But other options may also be available so it’s best to have your child assessed by their pediatrician.
Don’t Sweat It
Ultimately just remember that, generally speaking, sweat is a normal function of your child’s temperature-regulation system. The smaller the child, the more sweat glands they have in a small region. And, if your child is hitting puberty, those hormones will be sending sweat glands into overdrive.10
If your child has sweaty feet, and there is no medical concern, make sure they wear a good pair of moisture-wicking socks – wool socks are a great choice and very popular with hikers. They may sound as if they’d be hot (and make you sweat more) but they actually keep your feet dry and comfortable.
Also consider changing their socks halfway through their day, to give feet a chance to dry properly. You can also buy them shoes that are made from breathable fibers, like hemp and cotton. And, make sure to let their shoes dry properly overnight, as the bacteria from sweat love to thrive and grow in damp, dark shoes.