To mention to a dear friend that her 4 yo DD has body odour?

(29 Posts)
Ham69 Wed 10-Jul-13 23:01:05

I have a lovely, sensitive 'school gate' friend who I have spent a lot of time with recently. She's a very caring mum but does worry and over analyse things on occasion.
I have her DD back on regular playdates as she is in the same nursery class as my dd and they're great friends. They play dressing up games a lot and I can't help but notice the strong body odour my friend's dd has under her armpits. It slightly concerns me as she is very sensitive and starts school with my dd in September and children could pick up on it and be cruel.
So, do I mention it? Or should I mind my own business? Or any suggestions what it could be?

If it was my child I'd want to know. It's nothing to do with being dirty and probably something she should get medically looked at.

DocMarten Wed 10-Jul-13 23:04:41

must be a medical condition as she is only 4 years old surely.

Wuldric Wed 10-Jul-13 23:05:16

Really and truly DO NOT SAY A THING. Please don't. Unless you believe that for some reason your friend and her DH do not have a sense of smell. It would be just horrible.

Ham69 Wed 10-Jul-13 23:07:42

Yes, that's what I'm concerned about. They're a very clean and active family and seem to have a very well balanced diet.

CloudsAndTrees Wed 10-Jul-13 23:08:12

I wouldn't say anything. Too big a can of worms no matter how perfectly you say it.

daddoinghisbest Wed 10-Jul-13 23:12:21

It's a tricky one. How to mention it without causing offence and alarm, but BO in a 4yo is very unusual and could be due to a medical problem. I'd say it would be a good idea to talk to the mum, but how to do it sensitively is beyond me.

WillowKnicks Wed 10-Jul-13 23:13:50

Agree with Wuldric, please don't mention it, I'm sure the Mum is aware & would be truly mortified if you said anything.

Is there any chance they already know and are dealing with it. They may not have told u I'f they feel embarrassed. I really hope they don't take it as a criticism as you clearly don't mean it as one but you are right to be concerned.

WillowKnicks Wed 10-Jul-13 23:15:33

Agree with Wuldric, please don't mention it, I'm sure the Mum is aware & would be truly mortified if you said anything.

HerrenaHarridan Wed 10-Jul-13 23:23:06

Please do tell her!

People become acclimatised to smells very quickly and they may honestly have no idea. It is unusual for a child that young to have bo and she should be checked out.

There is obviously no ideal way but I would want to be told.

Maybe something like
I've noticed that your dd can get very sweaty, this happened to xyz and they took them to the doctor and got treatment. It may be worth considering having it checked out especially with her moving up to school next year, the last thing you'd want is for the sweat to turn smelly and have her be picked on.

It may help them notice.

Please for the child's sake bite the bullet and say something!

2rebecca Wed 10-Jul-13 23:34:58

I would say something. 4 year olds don't usually get body odour as puberty hormones kick it off but if they do sweat enough to make them smell (fresh sweat doesn't have a smell but if it isn't rapidly showered off it does smell) then like adults an antiperspirant will help. Other kids will notice it when she starts school so best it's sorted before hand.
If a friend of mine thought one of my kids was often a bit smelly I'd hope they'd tell me. If my kids (usually son) are a bit pongy I tell them. Smelliness is not something to pussyfoot around.

Smelly kids get ostracised.

OhMerGerd Wed 10-Jul-13 23:44:03

Gosh yes I think I'd want to know. So do tell her. As another poster says you can become acclimatised to family smells or if she is an only or first DC the mum might not realise that it's not usual for a 4 yo to have BO.

I wouldn't go down the might get picked on route though as if the mother is a worrier this could set off anxieties that she passes to herDD and it could become a self fulfilling worry.

I'd probably say something like...' The other day when it was hot I noticed x was affected quite a bit and that her sweat had a stronger odour than I'd expect for a 4 year old. I thought I'd ask you about it in case she needs me to keep an extra eye on whether she drinks plenty and keeps cool when she's playing over at ours?'

That way you've flagged it up to mum, stated its not normal but not attached any emotional or value judgement and at the same time given her an opening to say ... ' Yes there is a problem and you can help by doing x or yes we know we're waiting to see a specialist or gosh I'd not noticed what did it smell like and what would you do?

It's not normal for a 4yo to have BO, so I would try to tell her as sensitively as possible, as she should see a GP to check it isn't precocious puberty, or something equally rare.

Ham69 Wed 10-Jul-13 23:50:20

Thanks all, some mixed responses. Ohmer some great advice. She is a middle child so parents possibly could see a difference? They're a very active and healthy family with a well balanced diet so it could possibly be an allergy/ health issue? That's what concerns me most.

mumofweeboys Thu 11-Jul-13 00:40:00

Crikey mention it to the mum, it could be medical related.

garlicsmutty Thu 11-Jul-13 02:49:15

Interesting thread here about dairy products influencing 4yo body odour.

Another thing, which may sound dead weird but would depend on parents' background and possibly ethnicity - hair products containing placenta have been found to trigger early signs of puberty in very young children (one was a baby!) When the products were discontinued, the symptoms reversed.

garlicsmutty Thu 11-Jul-13 02:54:02

... felt I should add that American animal products (like milk) generally contain a LOT more hormones than European. If your friend's interested, though, you might show her the thread. It won't hurt to switch to organic and see if it does the trick smile

JeanPaget Thu 11-Jul-13 03:15:58

I wouldn't say anything coward.

If I was your friend, no matter how well intentioned your comments, I think I'd feel like my parenting or my child was being criticised, and I would find that hard to deal with rationally.

Sunnysummer Thu 11-Jul-13 03:19:30

OhMerGerd's approach sounds very sensible. I'd definitely want to be told - as people pointed out, you get used to smells quite quickly, and even if her parents do notice it, it would be easy to assume that it's just because they're so close to her all the time, but that other people wouldn't be able to tell.

McGeeDiNozzo Thu 11-Jul-13 05:45:19

Don't say anything. If she is the type to over-think everything she will be preoccupied about this for months. Just leave it.

8thplace Thu 11-Jul-13 06:34:53

Mind your own business.

Dilidali Thu 11-Jul-13 07:07:58

garlic, thank you for the link, very interesting. Food for thought there.

I wouldn't mention it. You will lose this friendship if you say something, however well meaning and will cause no end of upset. Please don't.

Doesn't she have any family or any other friends?

I would continue to be the good friend you are being.

Not everything that you notice is your responsibility to comment. She is not a new mum. Just because she hasn't said something to you doesn't mean she is not aware.

Don't assume something is medically wrong. There would be other indicators if there were.

There are limits (I feel) as to what is appropriate for a friend to want to ask/mention or discuss with me concerning my children and their health.

Jan49 Thu 11-Jul-13 09:17:04

I wouldn't say anything. Hopefully the parents will notice it themselves and do something about it. But also if you are somewhere where it's warm, maybe it's more noticeable now? I wouldn't mention it unless she brings it up with you.

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