At what age should one make sure that one’s children’s hands are washed (netilas yadayim) after awaking in the morning? Should one wash the hands of one’s baby or infant?

Answer:

Several poskim write that one should wash hands for an infant, wherever there is a possibility that his hands will come into contact with food. See Peri Megadim (4, M.Z. 7), and see Shulchan Aruch Ha-Rav (4:2), who writes that although there is room for leniency concerning infants, it is preferable to wash their hands, too. See also Ben Ish Chai (Toledos10) and Kaf Ha-Chaim (4:52).

For very small infants, for whom there isn’t any clear night or day (in terms of sleeping patterns), there is greater room for leniency, but once there is a clear night, one should preferably begin to wash hands.

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