February 14, 2018 11:55 am

Debunking common myths surrounding kids’ health

WATCH: Pediatrician Dr. Harley Eisman joins Global's Laura Casella to debunk some enduring myths surrounding family health.


When it comes to raising healthy kids, parents often find themselves on the receiving end of a lot of advice — sometimes unsolicited, mostly well-meaning.

But how much is fact and how much is fiction?

Dr. Harley Eisman, MUHC pediatric emergency services medical director joined Global News Morning‘s Laura Casella to debunk a few of the health myths surrounding children’s health.

Myth 1: Babies and kids need sleep to grow

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It’s not particularly true. About 80 per cent of the growth hormone is produced during sleep hours but parents freak out: “I gotta get my kid home, he has to nap, follow the schedule.”

READ MORE: When should babies be allowed to sleep in their own room?

Eisman says the best computers are in the baby’s brain and babies will regulate their own sleep patterns to suit their growth. When they are going through a growth spurt they may sleep more, but parents don’t have to freak out to get a certain amount of hours of sleep in.

Myth 2: Allowing babies to put weight on their legs too early will result in crooked legs and a delay in walking

Total myth, Eisman says. Every baby has a little bit of bowing, which is normal, which will disappear by two years of age, so they can put pressure on their legs.

Myth 3: Toddlers exposed to multiple languages in the home have delayed speech

That’s a myth as well. Babies flourish under multiple languages and they will speak as well as other kids, Eisman says.

WATCH BELOW: Speech pathologist Jennifer Benedik joins Global’s Laura Casella to talk about language development from baby to toddler.

Myth 4: Kids who grind their teeth have intestinal worms

Bruxism or grinding the teeth is just a habit and is not related to intestinal worms, Eisman says.

Myth 5: Treating fever weakens your body’s immune system

There are proponents who say don’t treat the fever, but that’s a myth, Eisman says. You want to make your child comfortable when he or she has a fever so that they drink, so that they’re able to play and so that they are able to recover from their illness.

Treating a fever is OK.

READ MORE: Should you feed a cold and starve a fever? Scientists may have the answer

Myth 6: Growing up with household animals and pets causes allergies

Total myth and we know, in fact, that children who grow up on farms or with pets in the house have fewer allergies, less food intolerance, Eisman says. So pets are a good thing.

READ MORE: Infant allergy study calls for allergenic food introduction not avoidance

Myth 7: Delayed introduction of certain foods prevents food allergies

That was the teaching for many years, Eisman says. Actually not now, we want to introduce foods early. Earlier introduction of allergenic foods actually decreases food intolerance and food allergy, so go ahead and feed your babies.

WATCH BELOW: More health myths 

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