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Questionable Sources of Medical Information for Parents

Posted Apr 06 2012 11:44am

I was looking through parenting magazines in the library recently and was concerned about some of the medical information I saw. I have long worried that parents are going to the Internet, magazines, books, and now apps to find out what to do about a problem instead of talking to their family doctor or pediatrician. There is a great deal of misinformation and also incomplete information available today.  An example of this is an article I saw recently about what to do when a child is slow in speaking. Various diagnoses were offered, but no place in the article was a hearing test suggested. There was also an incorrect statement that all babies are tested at birth in the hospital. That is not true and the test can also be unreliable depending on how it was done and who did it. Hearing should always be tested in a pediatric hearing center if there is any question.

Another example is colic. One article talked about the "Rule of 3" that I have seen mentioned elsewhere. In my experience, some babies, who have colic, don't just cry for three days a week, but may cry every night. No where in the article was there a suggestion about other causes for the crying. Everything parents think is colic may not be colic. It could be allergy to milk or even soy milk, gastrointestinal refux, and some have problems with  bowel movements. I remember two babies with tight congenital bands just above the rectal sphincter. When I inserted my small gloved finger, a great burst of gas and stool came out and the babies never had "colic" again!

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