News Science

Study shows the “5-Second Rule” is healthy for kids

Maybe our parents weren’t that dumb after all.

When Web Watch was younger, we recall that our parents did something a bit unusual with all their friends:  when one of the children got sick, the parents would insist that all the kids would then have to get together and play until all the kids were sick at the same time.

This is, if our memory is correct about the situation, how all of the kids we knew ended up with the chicken pox at the exact same time.

From a parenting viewpoint, it was probably good planning; they got all their own kids through the fun of being all itchy and scratchy at the same time as all of the classmates did.  It must have been like a chicken pox epidemic at that school.

Yes, Web Watch grew up in the age of “chickenpox parties”.  We really don’t hear of those happening today, do we?

Chicken Pox plush toy
Chicken Pox plush toy

So what does all this have to do with the infamous “5-second rule”?

First, let’s remind Web Watch readers what the 5-second rule is all about:  if food drops on the floor, you have 5 seconds to pick it up to eat it – or else it would be covered with germs and you’ll have to throw that food out.

Well, as Web Watch has mentioned previously, there is no such thing as the 5-second rule.  Germs are on that dropped food relatively instantly, no matter how long or short that food remains on the ground.  The only question is whether there are enough germs on that tasty morsel to worry about whether you’ll get sick or not from eating it.

And the answer is — maybe, maybe not.

And quite frankly, parents should probably LET THEIR KIDS EAT FOOD OFF THE FLOOR once in a while anyway.

That’s because doctors at the University College London have determined that if you keep your house too clean, if you prevent your kids from picking stuff up off the floor and sticking it in their mouths, if you yell at your children to “don’t touch that door knob” as you run after them with a squeeze bottle of Purell — then you’re doing your children a disservice.

Kids are closer to the ground on purpose — that’s where all the germs are, true — but it’s also how kids build up immunity to those types of things.  Yup, being TOO clean around the house is actually bad for your children.

There’s nothing wrong with a little dirt in the mouth for building up protections for things later.  Think of a grimy floor for the kid to crawl around in like the Dred Pirate Roberts building up an immunity to iocane powder — it may take years, but it will be worth it in the end when your kid is in a battle with a Sicilian when death is on the line.

They’ll eventually end up with Buttercup, and live happily every after and not be living in a bubble, afraid to touch anything for fear of catching a cold.

Maybe that old phrase, “rub some dirt on it” when you get hurt really IS a good idea for helping heal a scraped knee.