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I'm a huge fan of using child themes, as I'm also a huge fan of trusting the update process that goes along with most software. What does that mean? It means that I am typically a person who likes to updates apps on my phone, tablets, PC, and even websites I build and run.
This comes at a cost though, when it comes to updating the software I use to build and run websites, Wordpress. Specifically, to prevent updates on Wordpress themes to affect your website(s), it's best to work in child themes so that when core files in the theme are updated, it won't break anything you've done that is customized to suit your needs.
I'm also a big fan of Elegant Themes. They've put together a great guide on how to create and use child themes! It is very straightforward and very easy to follow. I recommend reading this if you're into creating websites with Wordpress and like to find themes to suit your needs but they always just need a little bit of your own pizazz to make them pop!
That tutorial at ET.