15 Old Wives' Tales Doctors Believe

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health, Medical Conditions, Development/Milestones: Babies, Weird But True, Home Remedies, Research Reveals: Babies, Health & Safety: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Research Reveals: Toddlers & Preschoolers, Health

15 Old Wives' Tales Doctors Believe

Doctors say that tales are false. Credit: Getty Images


How many pediatricians believe old wives' tales?


When asked if 15 old wives' tales were true or false, only 17 percent of the board-certified pediatricians surveyed said all of them were indeed false.

That is the finding of a study of 1,000 board-certified American pediatricians in primary care practice that was conducted by Dr. Andrew Adesman of the Children's Medical Center of New York and author of "BabyFacts: The Truth About Your Child From Newborn Through Preschool." (Adesman sent the questionnaire to 5,000 pediatricians and 1,000 responded.)

The good news is that these are all relatively benign old wives' tales and won't actually harm a child. But holding fast to facts that are false won't help a child who really needs medical care. Adesman found that pediatricians who practiced in urban settings and never had children of their own were most likely to believe the old wives' tales.

All 15 of these old wives' tales are false. Did you think any of them were true?

• 17 percent said vitamin C helps ward off colds.

• 16 percent said eating carrots will improve a child's vision.

• 15 percent said children should not swim until 30 minutes after eating.

• 15 percent said wounds heal quicker when exposed to the air.

• 11 percent said listening to Mozart will make a baby smarter.

• 11 percent said sugar causes hyperactivity.

• 10 percent said caffeine can stunt growth.

• 9 percent said sleeping with a night light causes nearsightedness.

• 8 percent said eating chocolate causes acne.

• 7 percent said reading in the dark causes visual problems.

• 7 percent said sitting too close to the TV will damage vision.

• 4 percent said drinking milk causes an increase in phlegm.

• 3 percent said adding rice cereal at bedtime helps babies sleep through the night.

• 3 percent said a child with diarrhea should not be given dairy until the diarrhea resolves.

• 1 percent said iron in baby formula causes constipation.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.