“I realized that half of my parenting advice was regurgitated stuff from my folks,” says Ken Jennings, Jeopardy! champion, dad of two, and author of Because I Said So! The Truth Behind the Myths, Tales and Warnings Every Generation Passes Down to Its Kids.
Jennings's book collects those age-old adages and shares the truth behind each. Here, a few of his findings:
MYTH: Blow on the boo-boo to make it feel better.
TRUE/FALSE: Mostly false. “The mouth is full of bacteria,” says Jennings. Therefore, putting the wound in the path of a bacteria stream might be a bad idea.
MYTH: Wait an hour to swim after lunch or you'll get a cramp.
TRUE/FALSE: Mostly false. In fact, long-distance swimmers are routinely fed in the middle of long races to stay nourished.
MYTH: Never run with scissors.
TRUE/FALSE: Mostly true. The U.S. Product Safety Commission reports that 4,556 children under 10 sought medical care for scissor-related injuries in 2010. But 72 percent of those injuries were to fingers, which means that cutting with scissors is a vastly bigger problem than running with them.
MYTH: Don't lean your head back to stop a nosebleed.
TRUE/FALSE: True. Here's why: Tipping back sends blood down the throat (nasty!); tilting slightly forward prevents this and slows the flow from the nostrils.
MYTH: Don't sniff markers!
TRUE/FALSE: True. Some contain dangerous solvents that cause dizziness when huffed, so keep the colors on the paper—not up the nose.