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  • Parents get health info online but don't trust it

    Author: AAP

Australian parents use and trust GPs the most for child health information while online sources are consulted but not trusted.

Many Australian parents go online for child health information but a third of them don't trust the sources.

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The latest Australian Child Health Poll found 61 per cent of 2000 parents surveyed used websites, blogs and online forums to get information in the last six months.

But only six per cent trusted them "a lot" while 30 per cent didn't trust them at all.

"This means that in seeking to better inform themselves about their kids' health, parents may be consuming so much information that, ultimately, they become more worried and confused," said poll director Dr Anthea Rhodes.

Discussing online information with their GP may be a solution to the "barriers of trust" and help give parents confidence in their own judgment.

"It's also a good opportunity for a GP to recommend online sites that are credible and accurate, but which parents might not know about," Dr Rhodes said.

"Online resources have the potential to be a valuable resource for Australian parents and to possibly aid in alleviating the burden of use on other healthcare services, such as hospitals and emergency departments."

She described as "startling" the finding that 48 per cent of parents used a hospital, including EDs, in the past six months for child health advice, even for minor conditions.

"Hospital EDs are highly trusted, but they are not the best place for the care of children with lower acuity conditions, who will typically face long wait times as critical patients are treated first," she said.

Parents used GPs and trusted them the most for child health information, while celebrities came in last at 15 for use and equal last with social media for trust.

* parents reported high usage of online health sources, but a third didn't trust them at all
* almost half used a hospital, including EDs, for child health advice
* more sought advice from school teachers and pharmacists than from paediatricians or telephone helplines
* alternative health therapists, social media and celebrities were among the least trusted and used.


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