We have all done it. Whenever we need an answer, the first move is to “just Google it.”
My oldest son asked me, “When did Nebraska last win a championship game?”
“Why don’t you Google it?”
Unfortunately, we can run into trouble with Google when it comes to health questions. Google pulls up the most popular answers, and they’re not always the correct answers. So where can parents turn to online if they have questions?
HealthyChildren.org - This website by the American Academy of Pediatrics covers everything from stages of development from before baby is born to adolescence. It offers excellent information on safety and prevention, as well as common illnesses and symptoms. You can also find out how to encourage children to live healthfully when it comes to nutrition, exercise and media exposure. The website also features a news section with information on up-and-coming recommendations from the AAP.
CommonSenseMedia.org - I often recommend CommonSenseMedia.org to parents who are concerned about media content. Common Sense Media reviews books, websites, movies, games, television shows and apps to help determine their appropriate age range for children. For example, Pixar recently came out with the movie “The Good Dinosaur.” Parents might want to know if the movie is appropriate for their 4-year-old. The site lists the concerning points for parents in terms of language, violence and subject matter. It also offers discussion points for families.
CDC.gov – Hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC.gov is a great go-to site for parents who have questions about immunizations. The site offers timely, appropriate information on the diseases that we protect against with vaccines, as well as the immunizations themselves. They also have a great frequently asked questions section, which covers the different components of vaccines and their side effects.
As always, if you find yourself spending quite a bit of time searching the web for something related to your child, don’t hesitate to call your pediatrician. Use the time at your child’s well visit to ask questions about what you find on your web searches. Your doctor should listen to what you have to say and then discuss your concerns. The Internet can provide a wealth of great information – it all comes down to smart searching when it comes to parenting.