Did your parents ever tell you, “You have to wait 30 minutes before you swim?” Is waiting 30 minutes before you swim a myth? There is some truth to the “30 minute rule” that your mom and dad enforced.

The bottom line truth is that you don’t have to wait 30 minutes, but it can’t hurt if you decided to do that. The swimming pool contractors from Advanced Pools in Memphis, TN bust that myth!

Is waiting 30 minutes before you swim a myth?

For many, many years children have been warned by their parents that they have to avoid the swimming pool or lake or any body of water for that matter for thirty minutes after they’ve had a meal. Children have sat pool- or lakeside and counted down the minutes until the mystical thirty minutes had passed.

Once the timer went off, children frantically jumped into the water to begin having fun without the fear of “cramps” and “maybe death” if they swam during the thirty minute window. Scary stuff!

We aren’t certain when this time frame came about or who een invented it, but the Amercian Academy of Pediatrics and the American Red Cross explain there really aren’t any “known side effects to swimming immediately after eating.” Sure, eating a heavy meal may not be the best before swimming — or any heavy physical activity. It’s believed that the wait time started because people believed that our stomachs needed oxygen to digest its food (which it does) and that it would take away the oxygen our bodies need to survive (which it doesn’t) and that’s where the thirty minutes may have arisen.

It is very unlikely that swimming soon after a meal would lead to someone drowning. If you’re a competitive swimmer, though, you probably wouldn’t eat a big meal before a swim meet because you could suffer cramping. For most kids and even their parents who are swimming in the backyard family swimming pool — the risk is minimal to nonexistent.

The rule that always need to be adhered to, though is “NEVER swim alone” regardless of whether you’ve eaten. No one, adult or child, should be in the pool alone. There is safety in swimming numbers.