Study: Parents should not trust 'Dr. Google'

Nearly 30% of infant health care websites are inaccurate

Although a majority of U.S. residents say they trust all or most online health data, most Internet search results related to infant sleep safety are irrelevant or inaccurate, according to a new study in the Journal of Pediatrics.  

For the study, researchers at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., analyzed the top 100 Google search results for 13 different phrases related to infant sleep safety, such as "infant sleep position." They compared those results to American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations.

Out of the 1,300 websites included in the study, the researchers found that:

  • 44% of the websites provided accurate data;
  • 28% provided irrelevant data; and
  • 28% provided inaccurate data.

When the researchers analyzed the source of online information, they found that:

  • 80% of data provided by government websites were accurate;
  • 73% of data provided by organizational websites were accurate;
  • 46% of data provided by personal websites were accurate;
  • 36% of data provided by retail product review sites were accurate; and
  • 31% of data provided by blogs were accurate.

Based on the study findings, the researchers recommend that government agencies update their infant sleep safety data and that health care providers give parents a list of accurate websites (Dallas, HealthDay, 8/3; Glynn, Medical News Today, 8/2).

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