As a member of Generation X (don’t call me an elder millennial), I’ve heard a lot of ridiculous safety tips in my time. Some came from The Greatest Generation, others from Boomers, and even a few came from my own generation. I’ve rounded up some of the most outlandish.
10 Ridiculous Safety Tips Gen Z Has Never Heard Of
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1. Don't sit on the cold sidewalk. It will give you hemorrhoids.
Image composite: Allan Mas, Pexels, SafeWise
The temperature of your rear has nothing to do with hemorrhoids. If you’re having trouble with your bottom or are afraid of getting hemorrhoids, see your doctor.
2. Don't let anything touch a power cord, or it will catch fire (particularly at night).
As long as your power cord is functioning properly, you have nothing to worry about. On the other hand, if there are exposed wires or the cord gets hot when in use (think space heaters), it’s a fire hazard.
3. If you wear your coat indoors, it won't protect you from freezing!
Image composite: Liza Summer, Pexels, SafeWise
Your coat will still insulate you from freezing temperatures—even if you’ve been wearing it inside. Since your skin is already toasty, it will feel colder outside until your body has had time to acclimate to the new air temperature.
4. Don't lean on the car door. It will spontaneously open and you'll fall out (even if the door is properly closed, locked, and you're seatbelted).
If I had a free hour with a therapist for every time my dad yelled, “Don’t lean on the car door,” I’d be a mentally healthy individual by now.
I’ve heard stories of car doors opening on their own way back in the 80s, but I haven’t found any proof that it actually happens. As long as the door is functioning properly, there shouldn’t be a problem.
5. Don't learn how to swim. You may drown while you're learning.
Image composite: Photo by Porapak Apichodilok, Pexels, SafeWise
Well, yeah. There’s always the possibility of something bad happening no matter what you do. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, formal swimming lessons can decrease your chance of drowning, not increase it.
6. Don’t take antidepressants. They’re drugs and drugs are bad.
This advice is usually followed by “Exercise or get out in nature and you’ll feel all better.” Look, long-term depression means your brain isn’t making the chemicals it needs. Medications help some of our brains do their job better. There’s no shame in the mental wellness game.
7. Don’t swallow gum. It will stay in your stomach for seven years.
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No worries. The gum will, umm, pass through. According to the Mayo Clinic, you only really need to worry if you’re constipated, a child, and swallow a lot of gum.
8. Don’t go outside when it’s cold. Being cold will make you get the flu/cold.
I missed a lot of recesses because of this one as a child. Being cold won’t make you sick. It may make your body less able to fight off viruses, but you have to come in contact with the flu or cold virus to get sick.¹,² No virus, no sickness.
9. Cats suck baby’s breath.
Whenever I’ve heard this one, I make sure to give the advice-giver the stink eye. Don’t you talk about those sweet little floof angels like that!
No, cats will not kill your baby, even if the baby’s breath smells like milk. I mean, supervise playtime and don’t let your cat lay on your baby’s face, but don’t let this old wive's tale spook you.
- National Library of Medicine, “Exposure to Cold Impairs Interferon-Induced Antiviral Defense,” August 2017. Accessed March 29, 2022.
- Genaro C. Armas, American Heart Association News, “Can the Cold Really Make You Sick?” December 2021. Accessed March 29, 2022.
- Scientific American, “You'll Go Blind: Does Watching Television Close-Up Really Harm Eyesight?” January 2010. Accessed March 29, 2022.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology, “Can Sitting Too Close to the TV Damage Your Eyes?” December 2010. Accessed March 29, 2022.