Googling parents misdiagnose babies
Thu, 02 Aug 2012 6:17p.m.
By Jane Luscombe
A new study has found many parents rely on Google for health advice for their babies – but too often that information is wrong.
And it’s made worse by the images they see in magazines.
Most people have, at one time or another, turned to Google for quick, simple advice. A US study found 60 percent of people have used the internet to find health information.
Of those, 72 percent believed most or all of what they read.
The Journal of Paediatrics searched for advice about infant sleep safety using 13 key phrases. It found fewer than half the sites listed on Google contained accurate information.
It matters because more infants aged between one month and one year die from sudden unexpected death syndrome in New Zealand than any other cause.
The biggest problem is parents who share a bed with their babies. The study found a search of the phrases ‘infant bed sharing’ and ‘infant co sleeping’ were most likely to produce inaccurate information.
Dr Elder has another concern - the images of babies shown in women’s magazines.
In a different study, one third of magazine pictures showed infants sleeping in the wrong position – all babies should sleep on their backs.
Two thirds of pictures didn’t fit in with health recommendations, including avoiding loose blankets, pillows and removing toys.
For any parent who is unsure, all the advice is in the Wellchild book every baby gets at birth.
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12/08/2012 7:15:53 p.m.
Theres always the 0800 healthline which is great for info as you speak to a nurse free and they can guide you as to what is correct.
3/08/2012 4:56:28 p.m.
Maybe this is because we have to now pay for doctors i have 4 children and with the older two now 12 and 8 i didnt have a problem with taking them to the doctor as it was free and i wanted to be safe than sorry, i now have a 3 month and everytime i take her to the doctor i have to pay $16 so i do goggle it first,to check if it is serious or not.
3/08/2012 8:18:02 a.m.
Anyone that uses information on the internet is a fool. Anyone can make a website and put anything they like on it. If I wanted to I could set up one saying the colour red cures cancer and a square can prevent cot death.
There is no difference between fact and fiction on the internet.
@renee if you were curious enough to search on the internet for answers, you knew in the back of your mind there could be something wrong. Next time use your mothers intuition and GO TO THE DOCTOR, instead of relying on the internet and books to provide the answers.
2/08/2012 7:39:36 p.m.
Renee Boyer-Willisson wrote:
On the other hand, Google helped me realise my daughter's eye symptoms were likely something serious and made me take her to the doctor and push for a quick referral. I turned out to be correct, and catching it early meant her treatment was more effective and less invasive than it might otherwise have been. The Well Child book did not help in this instance.
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