When it comes to our children’s health, us parents are prone to worry and I’ve found that there are many misunderstandings and myths about playing outside. Have you heard these three common myths?
MYTH: If your child has a fever, he or she needs to stay inside
TRUTH: Being outdoors has no effect on fever
Fever is one of those things that many parents get worked up about and go to great lengths to suppress, when in fact fever helps your child’s body fight the infection. Andy Adesman, pediatrician and author of the book Babyfacts, says that “…children can have a fever as high as 105 degrees without serious risk of harm…those with a low-grade fever can go outside and play if they feel like it.”
If your child is too sick to get out of bed, by all means let her stay there. But a lot of times even kids with a fever get restless and want to get up and play. If that’s the case, there is no harm in letting them go outside, as long as they’re comfortable. Fresh air doesn’t cure illness, but it may help your child get some rest, as a lot of children nap well outside.
MYTH: You need to wait half an hour after eating before going swimming
TRUTH: There is no documented case of drowning due to a full stomach
My parents always told me to hold off on swimming for at least half an hour after eating, or I would run the risk of drowning due to cramping. Chances are you heard it from yours too. This is so universally accepted that I just found out a couple of years ago that it’s actually a myth. Although children (and adults) theoretically could develop a cramp while swimming on a full stomach, this is not known to ever have caused a drowning. You might be more comfortable if you hold off on plunging into the water after a big meal before – my mom still tells me that the body needs rest in order to digest the food properly – but it’s not dangerous not to.
MYTH: Taking your child outside in cold or windy weather can cause an ear infection
TRUTH: Bacteria and viruses cause ear infections
What myths about playing outside do you know? Please share in the comments!
Disclaimer: Please note that I’m not a doctor and not attempting to give advice about your children’s health care. You can read my full disclosure policy here.