The real deal: Of course, a bath is essential to get strained carrots out of your baby's hair or mud stains off your preschooler's legs. But a daily soak in the tub isn't necessary. Too much scrubbing can irritate your child's tender skin by removing the natural oils that keep it moisturized, says Catherine Dundon, M.D., an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, in Nashville. While tubtime can help kids wind down, a daily rinse or spot-clean at the sink can do the trick on nights you don't have time for a bath or you can't wrangle your little one into the water. Be sure to wipe down her hands, face, and feet, as well as the body folds where dirt can hide (such as her neck, genitals, and armpits).