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Some babies will turn into contortionists to avoid touching grass. Here's why.

Check out the little grass-averse gymnasts.

baby grass

Touch grass? Babies say, "Nope."

When you see a gymnast doing this, you know they've worked for years to train their muscles and perfect their gymnastics skills:

Martin Rulsch, Wikimedia Commons

But when you see a baby hovering in the air, legs in splits, you know there's probably a big ol' patch of grass beneath them.

Grass?!? you may be thinking. Seriously? Aren't babies, the purest among us—unspoiled by the trappings of modern life and technology—naturally drawn to the earth?

Apparently not if that earth is covered in grass, nope. For them, the lawn is lava.


Babies—or at least a good portion of babies—will do pretty much anything to not let any part of their bodies touch grass. Viral videos have demonstrated this fact, with parents holding their wee ones over a patch of lawn and lowering them toward the ground.

The way these tiny tots will twist themselves into gymnast-like positions to keep some daylight between them and the lawn is both impressive and hilarious. Watch:

You would think these parents were holding their kids above a pot of boiling oil, not the cool, refreshing grass. So what's happening here? Why are these babies so averse to touching grass?

According to neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez, it could be an issue of sensory overload.

“Some babies lift their feet out in the air when a parent attempts to put them down on the grass because as a baby’s nervous system develops, sights, sensations, and sounds are intense,” Hafeez told Romper. “The ticklish, sharp blades of grass can catch a baby off guard, and some babies are often scared of it, as they are used to softer, more comfortable surfaces such as wood, tile, or carpet.”

Pediatrician Gina Posner, M.D offered Parents a similar explanation.

"The prickly texture and feel of grass is far different than softer and more comfortable feeling of carpet, tile, and wood surfaces on their feet, hands, and body, so babies are often scared of it." Grass can also be itchy and cause rashes, she said, which can make babies more averse to it.

Another explanation may be more innate and evolutionary. In a 2014 study published in Cognition, researchers reported evidence that "human infants possess strategies that would serve to protect them from dangers posed by plants."

"Across two experiments, infants as young as eight months exhibit greater reluctance to manually explore plants compared to other entities," the researchers shared. So perhaps babies simply don't trust grass.

According to another study published in 2019, there may be something to that distrust idea. Researchers found that babies between 8 and 18 months old "exhibited more social looking toward adults when confronted with plants compared to other object types." The study authors pointed out that learning about which plants are beneficial and which ones are harmful is something humans can't do alone, and noted that infants tended to look to older adults for social cues about plants they encounter before touching them.

"This social looking strategy puts infants in the best position to glean information from others before making contact with potentially dangerous plants," researchers wrote.

So, we have a few options here. Is it possible that those babies in the video weren't able to glean social cues from their caregivers that the grass was safe? Yes. Is it possible that they'd already touched grass once and found it too "tickly"? Yes. Is it possible that babies do all kinds of surprising, seemingly inexplicable things just to keep their parents guessing and always on their toes? Sure feels like it.

Whatever the reason, watching babies blatantly reject the "touch grass" advice the rest of us keep getting is hilarious. Who says the grown-ups know best? Trust your instincts and do you, babes.

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Scientists tested 3 popular bottled water brands for nanoplastics using new tech, and yikes

The results were alarming—an average of 240,000 nanoplastics per 1 liter bottle—but what does it mean for our health?

Suzy Hazelwood/Canva

Columbia University researchers tested bottled water for nanoplastics and found hundreds of thousands of them.

Evian, Fiji, Voss, SmartWater, Aquafina, Dasani—it's impressive how many brands we have for something humans have been consuming for millennia. Despite years of studies showing that bottled water is no safer to drink than tap water, Americans are more consuming more bottled water than ever, to the tune of billions of dollars in bottled water sales.

People cite convenience and taste in addition to perceived safety for reasons they prefer bottle to tap, but the fear factor surrounding tap water is still a driving force. It doesn't help when emergencies like floods cause tap water contamination or when investigations reveal issues with lead pipes in some communities, but municipal water supplies are tested regularly, and in the vast majority of the U.S., you can safely grab a glass of water from a tap.

And now, a new study on nanoplastics found in three popular bottled water brands is throwing more data into the bottled vs. tap water choice.

Researchers from Columbia University used a new laser-guided technology to detect nanoplastics that had previously evaded detection due to their miniscule size. The new technology can detect, count and analyze and chemical structure of nanoparticles, and they found seven different major types of plastic: polyamide, polypropylene, polyethylene, polymethyl methacrylate, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, and polyethylene terephthalate.

In contrast to a 2018 study that found around 300 plastic particles in an average liter of bottled water, the study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in January of 2024 found 240,000 nanoplastic particles per liter bottle on average between the three brands studied. (The name of the brands were not indicated in the study.)

As opposed to microplastics, nanoplastics are too small to be seen by microscope. Their size is exactly why experts are concerned about them, as they are small enough to invade human cells and potentially disrupt cellular processes.

“Micro and nanoplastics have been found in the human placenta at this point. They’ve been found in human lung tissues. They’ve been found in human feces; they’ve been found in human blood,” study coauthor Phoebe Stapleton, associate professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Rutgers University’s Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy told CNN Health,

We know that nanoplastics are making their way into our bodies. We just don't have enough research yet on what that means for our health, and we still have more questions than answers. How many nanoplastics does it take to do damage and/or cause disease? What kinds of damage or disease might they cause? Is whatever effect they might have cumulative? We simply don't have answers to these questions yet.

That's not to say there's no cause for concern. We do know that certain levels of microplastic exposure have been shown to adversely affect the viability of cells. Nanoplastics are even smaller—does that mean they are more likely to cause cellular damage? Science is still working that out.

According to Dr. Sara Benedé of the Spanish National Research Council’s Institute of Food Science Research, it's not just the plastics themselves that might cause damage, but what they may bring along with them. “[Microparticles and nanoparticles] have the ability to bind all kinds of compounds when they come into contact with fluids, thus acting as carriers of all kinds of substances including environmental pollutants, toxins, antibiotics, or microorganisms,” Dr. Benedé told Medical News Today.

Where is this plastic in water coming from? This study focused on bottled water, which is almost always packaged in plastic. The filters used to filter the water before bottling are also frequently made from plastic.

Is it possible that some of these nanoplastics were already present in the water from their original sources? Again, research is always evolving on this front, but microplastics have been detected in lakes, streams and other freshwater sources, so it's not a big stretch to imagine that nanoplastics may be making their way into freshwater ecosystems as well. However, microplastics are found at much higher levels in bottled water than tap water, so it's also not a stretch to assume that most of the nanoplastics are likely coming from the bottling process and packaging rather than from freshwater sources.

The reality is, though, we simply don't know yet.

“Based on other studies we expected most of the microplastics in bottled water would come from leakage of the plastic bottle itself, which is typically made of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic,” lead author Naixin Qian, a doctoral student in chemistry at Columbia University, told CNN Health. “However, we found there’s actually many diverse types of plastics in a bottle of water, and that different plastic types have different size distributions. The PET particles were larger, while others were down to 200 nanometers, which is much, much smaller.”

We need to drink water, and we need to drink safe water. At this point, we have plenty of environmental reasons for avoiding bottled water unless absolutely necessary and opting for tap water instead. Even if there's still more research to be done, the presence of hundreds of thousands of nanoplastics in bottled water might just be another reason to make the switch.

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Really, the first thing that I will tell you is to disbelieve the myth that teenagers are sullen, angry creatures who slam doors and hate their parents. Some do that, but the overwhelming majority do not. Every one of my kids' friends are just as happy and fun as my kids are, so I know it's not just us.

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Surgeons prepared to separate 3-year-old conjoined twins in Brazil using virtual reality.

The things human beings have figured out how to do boggles the mind sometimes, especially in the realm of medicine.

It wasn't terribly long ago that people with a severe injury had to liquor up, bite a stick, have a body part sewn up or sawed off and hope for the best. (Sorry for the visual, but it's true.) The discoveries of antibiotics and anesthesia alone have completely revolutionized human existence, but we've gone well beyond that with what our best surgeons can accomplish.

Surgeries can range from fairly simple to incredibly complex, but few surgeries are more complicated than separating conjoined twins with combined major organs. That's why the recent surgical separation of conjoined twin boys with fused brains in Brazil is so incredible.

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