Parents today have access to more medical information than ever before. While many can use this to educate themselves, the truth is that there often seems to be just as much misinformation out there as there is valid information. As a parent, it’s your duty to not only do your research, but to figure out how to determine if the information you are reading is actually worth your time. Doing so requires following a few simple steps to determine if you’re getting your information from a valid source.
Understand the Source of Information
First and foremost, try to figure exactly from where the information comes from. Any information that comes from social media should be treated with at least a bit of suspicion. When you read a statement, start by figuring out if it comes from a health professional or from a published study. This will give you an idea of whether or not what you’re reading can be backed up by any actual medical science.
If the information does include a source, try to look at that source. Don’t be fooled by professional-sounding names – look into the organization that sponsored the information and try to determine if they have any biases. Many sources that peddle inaccurate information do so successfully because they have names that seem trustworthy, so check out their websites to see if they are legitimate.
Talk to Your Pediatrician
It’s also a good idea to think about the biases of the source of your information. Is this source usually trustworthy? Is it a source that generally has good medical information? Is this a source that is trying to sell you something or to convince you of something else? You need to ask all of these questions before you can commit to trusting the information from any source.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, take the time to discuss any information you find with your child’s pediatrician. Don’t go in with the idea that the doctor is trying to trick you – after all, he or she has a vested interest in keeping your child safe. Simply present the information to the doctor and see what he or she has to say. You might be surprised by how willing a doctor will be to help you with any medical concerns that you might present.