Children's Health: Gross Stuff Kids Do - Will It Hurt Them?

  • Reviewed By: Amita Shroff, MD
Reviewed on 8/30/2022

Pick Their Noses

Children often pick their noses.

Childhood and boogers seem to go hand and hand. Scan any room full of kids, and there's a good chance you'll see at least one "digging for gold." Even grosser? They often wipe the treasure they find on the nearest surface, or eat it. Picking can leads to a nosebleeds, so work with your kid to break the habit.

Lick Dirty Things

Little kids often lick things that may be contaminated with viruses and bacteria.

How is it that kids can find the grimiest spot in any area and then put their mouth right on it? The pole in the middle of the subway car, the public bathroom doorknob, your shopping cart handle -- kids will lick them all. That isn't good because bacteria and viruses can live on surfaces for several hours. But don't bathe them in hand sanitizer just yet -- they more likely to get germs from person-to-person contact.

Put Their Hands Down Their Pants

Make sure your kids wash their hands after using the toilet.

Fact: Kids don't always wipe well after they use the bathroom. And dirty bottoms can get itchy. Make sure your petite pooper knows how to clean themself after they go, and to wash their wandering hands with soap and warm water. If they can't stop scratching, it might be time for a peek between the cheeks -- it could a sign of pinworms.

Use Their Sleeve as a Hankie

It's better that kids wipe their snotty noses with their sleeves rather than their hands.

If there's a choice between tissue or clothes when it's time to tame a runny nose, kids go for the arm almost every time. (Sometimes they go for your sleeve.) Crusty clothes are definitely gross, but it's actually better they wipe snot there than on their hands. It helps slow the spread of germs.

Pee in the Pool

Peeing in the pool is irritating to the eyes, skin, and metal pool parts.

It takes a lot of willpower for a kid splashing in the shallow end to get out of the water to go to the bathroom. If the yuck factor alone isn't enough, the chlorine/urine mix can form chemicals that irritate your eyes and damage metal pool parts. Tell your tots to head for dry land when it's time to potty.

Chew on Everything

Kids chewing on their fingernails, keys, pencils, hair, or dog toys is a normal habit.

Hair, pencils, shirt collars, fingernails, keys, dog toys-- kids will gnaw just about anything. Often, they don't even realize they're doing it. Icky as it is, a habit like this is a normal part of development and will soon pass. Let common sense guide you -- if it goes somewhere that isn't clean, keep it away from them as much as you can.

Pick at Scabs

Kids often pick at scabs, but try to detract them because it can reinjure the skin.

Childhood is full of scraped knees, which means it's also full of scabs. And kids can't seem to leave those crusty patches alone. They pick and pry them at them until before long, they're bleeding again. But scabs are the body's natural bandages. So if your kid takes them off too soon, they more likely to get an infection.

Pass Gas

Kids think farts are funny, but excess gas may be a sign of a need for a dietary change.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a kid who doesn't think a fart is funny. And the worse it smells, the more reaction they know they'll get. But if your little prince can't seem to stop giving off gas, check his diet. Beans, fried foods, or dairy could be to blame.

Children's Health: Gross Stuff Kids Do - Will It Hurt Them?

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