Does your infant or toddler have really sweaty feet? My almost 1 year old niece Patricia too, her feet are always clammy. Sometimes they are hot, sometimes cold, but always clammy.
In some kids there’s so much perspiration that socks become soaking wet and their feet leave wet patches on their crib mattress.
It may seem like your little girl or boy’s feet have been under a running tap.
On smooth surfaced floors their sweaty little feet slip from under them like Bambi on ice.
Reasons babies hands and feet sweat so much
Those little feet feeling all cold while being clammy at the same time may cause concern among parents but it actually is pretty normal. Here’s why.
- Babies are unable to shiver and are less able to sweat. Only the glands in their hands, feet, neck, and head are active (about 30% of their total body size) so these body parts have to do all the temperature regulating work.
- Because of the excess sweat glands in their hands and feet these body parts may feel sweaty.
- Concerned parents often overdress their babies. In order to cool down the body the surplus body heat is discharged via perspiration in the hands and feet.
- Newborn babies have limited blood circulation focused mainly on supplying blood to their heads and chest and heads when they are asleep. As a result their hands and feet may feel cooler.
It’s pretty common for babies to have sweaty hands and feet and, even more so, sweaty heads.
Although sweaty hands and feet are pretty common in our youngest there is a distinction between normal sweating and excessive perspiration. In case of severe sweating there may be a genetic issue.
Sweating in babies, infants, and toddlers
We humans, being warm-blooded, are able to maintain our own body temperature even when the surrounding temperature differs greatly. This is called ‘thermoregulation’.
When we are still very young however, we are less able to regulate our body temperature independently.
From about a year, children are better capable of sweating and shivering and thus better able to regulate temp effectively. That’s why in most infants excessive sweating of the extremities (i.e. head, hands, and feet) evens out when they get older.
When we get older the sweating will normalize in many people. This however depends from person to person. It may be so that your child will be about 2 to 4 years of age when the sweating stops or normalizes.
But some will have to reach adulthood. And then even some people will continue to sweat. This is often the case when it is common in your family to sweat a lot. This condition is called hyperhidrosis.
Increased capability of regulating body temperature leads to less fevers and less excessive sweating of hands and feet.
When should you worry?
Even when your baby’s sweaty feet are not due to a too warm room temperature or being overdressed, sweating in itself isn’t cause to worry.
However, if your child shows other signs that may cause concern such as being underweight, not being energetic or active, it’s probably wise to get him or her examined by a pediatrician.
This to rule out dangerous underlying issues, such as heart disease, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
Excessive sweating as a medical condition
Excessive sweating could indicate an underlying problem too. Sometimes a genetic issue plays a role.
Primary hyperhidrosis is a condition starting in infancy. According to a prospective study in 338 patients,
In 86% of the patients PH started during infancy, 71.5% were female (mean age 28.8 years). 96.4% of the patients reported palmar hyperhidrosis, often there is family history of PH.
Hyperhidrosis, although it may sound a bit scary, is just the medical term for excessive sweating.
it is too much sweating that occurs even at not really high temperatures and while you’re not exercising.
It is caused by a problem in the sympathetic nervous system which controls many automatic body functions, including sweating.
The type of hyperhidrosis that occurs primarily in your palms and soles may have a genetic component, because it sometimes clusters in families. Mayo Clinic
Although hyperhidrosis just means sweating a lot, there are some medical conditions relating to this condition.
Not only does it often involve embarrasment and can really affect someone’s psychological, emotional, and social perspective it may cause;
- skin irritation,
- peeling feet,
- a very unpleasant smell (that adds to embarrasment)
- and painful skin.
Apart from that it worsens if you’re under stress or nervous. Because you sweat you will get self-conscious and become more nervous. In other words, it can cause a virtuous circle.
Which hyperhidrosis treatment is best?
Since excess sweating of hands, feet, head, and neck of children is normal it is generally not necessary to worry or take action.
When hyperhidrosis runs in the family and your son or daughter grows older you may want to use an anti-perspirant. A well-reviewed, often by doctors recommened product is a deoderant called Certain Dry.
If the problem persists you can have your child see a dermatologist. They can do some tests to rule out underlying conditions that may cause the sweating.
What if deodorants do not work?
If antiperspirants and other measures don’t work, oral medication, botox injections, iontophoresis treatment, and surgery can be used as next or last resorts.
Botox works by blocking the signals the nerves send to the sweat glands. Iontophoresis uses electric currents to disrupt the function of the sweat glands and in surgery some of the nerves are removed.