NEW HYDE PARK, NY -- Although most mothers may recognize “old wives’ tales” as being false, there are too many misconceptions about children’s health and development that continue to fool parents and even some pediatricians.
“Parents continue to subscribe to many different myths about children’s health and development, and some myths can seriously compromise the health or development of a young child,” says Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics at Schneider Children’s Hospital in New Hyde Park, NY, and author of a new book on parenting myths entitled “babyfacts.”
There are many different reasons why parents believe these myths. In some cases, the misconception may be an exaggeration or distortion of a related fact. For example, many people believe that eating carrots is good for your vision, but the truth is that it will only help the vision of individuals who have vitamin A deficiency -- a rare condition in this country.
A more dangerous myth that reflects an exaggeration is “teething sometimes causes a high fever in infants.” According to Dr. Adesman, “Although teething may occasionally be associated with a low fever, it should never be considered the cause for a high fever. He cautions that other, more serious and potentially treatable causes should be considered.”
Here are 10 other parenting myths that are still widely believed:
• Wounds will heal quicker if exposed to fresh air at night.
• Vitamin C supplements help ward off colds.
• Ice baths can be used to bring down a high fever in young children.
• Reading in the dark can cause later vision or eye problems.
• Treat a burn with an application of ice or butter.
• Ear infections need to be treated with antibiotics.
• It is not safe for children to go swimming immediately after eating.
• The best way to stop a bloody nose is to tilt the head back.
• If a child sits too close to the television, it can damage his vision.
• Fevers of 104˚F or 105˚F can cause brain damage.
• Crackling your knuckles as a child will lead to arthritis later.
• Eating a lot of chocolate can cause acne in teens.
Those are just some of the 160 myths debunked in Dr. Adesman’s book. Parents and other childcare providers wishing to see how many myths they unknowingly believe to be true can take a fun and informative quiz at www.babyfacts.com.