Kids missing school due to hygiene poverty, new research shows

By Claudia Lee

New research from a survey have shown that more than one third of children in London have skipped sport because of hygiene poverty.

Research conducted by charity In Kind Direct revealed that almost half of low-income households are going without basic personal care products, such as shampoo, shower gel and deodorant, due to being unable to afford them.

When children from low-income families do take part in sport, many are being shamed or ostracised, with more than one third of children having been bullied for how they smell.

Hygiene poverty is a hidden output of the cost of living crisis, nearly three quarters of those unable to afford basic personal care products are experiencing this for the first time this year.

The survey conducted by YouGov had a total sample size of 2,069 adults. Of those surveyed, 37 per cent of people were aware of hygiene poverty compared to fuel and food poverty, which 90 per cent of people had heard of.

Paul Buchanan, interim chief executive of In Kind Direct said: “No child should feel unable to take part in PE, enjoy their favourite sport, or simply meet up with friends for a kickabout in the park due to worrying about getting clean again afterwards, but sadly for many children living in hygiene poverty this is the case.”

Living without access to basic products is damaging children’s physical and mental health and wellbeing.

One in 10 parents who are affected by hygiene poverty say their child has missed school as a result, while 36 per cent of children in London have admitted to skipping sport due to not having the personal care products they need to clean again afterwards.

Additionally, nearly one in three children from low-income families have said they make excuses not to meet up with friends because they feel unclean.

When children living in hygiene poverty gain access to these basic products it has a huge impact, with 71 per cent of families saying the products they receive from In Kind Direct’s network help to improve their children’s well-being and happiness, with 50 per cent saying it increases physical health and activity.

(Picture: In Kind Direct)

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