To all the mamas and papas out there who lose their minds when their kids come in contact with anything 'yucky', relax. New research not only says that playing in dirt is okay, but even encourages it, especially before your baby turns one.
Avoiding asthma and developing allergies are way up there on the list of reasons why getting down and dirty on your kitchen floor isn't a crime worth beating yourself over the head with a frying pan for.
This news comes via Time, who have reported on a study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, showing that babies who were exposed to the daily grime we accumulate in our homes were less likely to be wheezing by age three.
Mother, appalled, learns that dirt is not the enemy...
Arriving at this conclusion, the researchers studied 467 inner-city infants in Boston, New York and St. Louis, tracking their health over three years, and visiting their homes to calculate the levels of a variety of allergens. The results don't surprise us. Why? Well, think of it as a vaccination: the kids who were completely free of allergies were the ones most likely to have grown up surrounded by allergens and bacteria. They developed an immunity of sorts and their bodies were much less sensitive. Conversely, those kids whose mothers wouldn't let them come within an inch of some dirt wound up most likely to have developed upper respiratory issues.
So, it turns out, perhaps a healthy level of exposure to germs will be less harmful to your kids' health than confining them to a perpetually sterile environment.
*Backs away from the disinfectant*