Are you a mum who googles for baby health advice? I have to confess I am. Whenever my kids are sick I always go online and look up their symptoms usually to put my mind at rest but sometimes because I have an inkling it’s something deeper and want more reassurance.
Sometimes googling symptoms has been extremely helpful. For instance, when my son hit his head I found some amazing advice on parenting websites on what to look out for and what to worry about. In fact the immediate advice I found on google was about 10 times better than NHS Direct who took 2 hours to call me back. However, there have been times when I have scared myself to death looking up symptoms, like the time I convinced myself I had swine flu when in fact all I had was a cold.
So I am not surprised to hear that new research shows that as parents we need to be careful about what we google as nearly 50% of baby health advice online is wrong. When comparing 1,300 websites bought up by google the researchers at UCLA found only 43% of sites had accurate information and nearly 30% provided inaccurate information. And while the researchers don’t want to discourage parents from seeking out information they said that government websites (sites that end in .gov) and charity sites (that end in .org) were the most accurate sites to look at.
Sites that came up badly were anecdotal sites such as blogs offering medical advice, and forums where everyone gives their opinion. Asking my GP for his advice on the subject, he said while it’s good to seek out information as a parent, if you are at all worried or concerned about your child’s health you should always follow your gut instinct and see your doctor as soon as possible.
Do you google for baby health advice? Have you found it helpful or unhelpful? Let us know.