Are you smarter than a pediatrician? Find out by checking your answers against these, based on the book Babyfacts (Wiley, $15.95) by Andrew Adesman.
1. Answer: False. Numerous studies have found no significant evidence that there's a link between sugar consumption and hyperactivity. In one study, half the moms were told their children had a drink with added sugar, while the other moms were told the kids' drinks were sugar free. The "added sugar" parents rated their children's behavior as hyperactive, while the "sugar free" moms thought the behavior was normal.
2. Answer: False. Napping and nighttime rest are two different things, and should be kept separate. You can't "tire out" a young baby by not letting him nap; you simply make him miserable, and your day will seem a lot longer.
3. Answer: False. Babies don't need daily baths, nor is it good for their skin. A baby doesn't need to be bathed any more than two to three times a week for the first year, unless he is truly dirty. Bathing removes moisture from the skin, so if you're overbathing your child, his skin can become dry and irritated.
4. Answer: False. A covered wound heals more quickly and is less likely to leave a scar. A scab actually slows down the healing process and increases the risk of scarring. An ordinary plastic bandage is enough to keep a boo-boo moist and healing.
5. Answer: False. No child under the age of 2 should be given an over-the-counter cough or cold remedy, and many pediatricians say they should not be used in children under 6. Children have been seriously sickened by accidental overdosing with OTC cold medication, and there is very little evidence that these medications actually relieve symptoms such as coughing and runny or stuffy noses in children or adults. Instead, use saline nose drops or spray to wash away mucus, and take your child into a steamy bathroom to loosen phlegm and ease coughing. One study found that honey reduced nighttime cough in children over age 1.
6. Answer: True. Carrot eaters wear glasses, too. Carrots are rich in beta carotene, but unless your child actually suffers from Vitamin A deficiency, consuming lots of carrots won't improve her eyesight. People with night blindness often suffer from Vitamin A deficiency, which may be why we associate carrots with better vision. Still, carrots are low in calories and rich in an important nutrient, so eat up!
7. Answer: True. A fever can go a few degrees beyond 104 degrees before a baby or young child is at risk for brain damage. Fevers that accompany an illness are usually beneficial. They are the body's response to fighting infection.
8. Answer: False. Tipping the head back can make blood flow into the throat, causing choking or vomiting. Instead, keep the head up or slightly forward, and pinch the nostrils just below the bony ridge of the nose. Apply firm pressure for a full 10 minutes without stopping, and repeat for another 10 minutes if the bleeding hasn't stopped. If the nose is still bleeding after 20 minutes, call a doctor immediately.
9. Answer: False. Unless your baby has highly sensitive skin, atopic dermatitis, or allergies, you can wash his clothing with regular laundry detergent, and with the rest of your family's laundry. You can test this by washing one item of clothing in regular laundry detergent to see if it causes any reaction. One exception: Cloth diapers should always be washed separately from clothes.
10. Answer: True. There are many reasons to move your child away from the television, but the reason your mother gave you isn't one of them. Your child's young eyes can handle up-close focusing without the strain you might feel. There is no scientific or medical evidence to suggest a television screen emits any vision-damaging lights or electric rays. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children under 2 not watch television at all, saying this is a time for parent-child bonding, but the reality is that 75 percent of all children that age watch some TV.