Parents are relying on old wives' tales to prevent their child catching a cold, a national poll shows.
According to the latest Child Health Poll by The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, many parents are confused over how to keep the dreaded cold at bay.
Eighty-four per cent follow strategies passed down from generation to generation, including staying indoors or not going to bed with wet hair or outside with bare feet.
Two-thirds give their children over-the-counter vitamins or supplements such as Vitamin C, while one in eight administer antibiotics.
A quarter of parents believe taking antibiotics can stop the cold from turning into the flu, even though colds are caused by a virus.
There is no evidence these methods have any benefits, the report said.
The most effective way of preventing a cold is good hygiene, director of the poll and paediatrician Anthea Rhodes said.
"Wash hands, clean contaminated surfaces and avoid people who are sick when you can," she said on Wednesday.
The poll of 1990 parents, who care for 3630 children aged one month to 18 years, was conducted in February.
Australian Associated Press