Q. A mother of three, I spend a lot of time surfing the internet for information. Sometimes I worry whether certain websites are reliable. Are there specific sites you would recommend?
The internet is a wonderful tool for parents. I am always amazed at how many great resources are available with a simple “Google” search. However, it is also important to realize that just because something is on the internet does not mean that it is true. There is no oversight for websites, so it’s up to you to choose your sources wisely.
As a general rule of thumb, websites that are associated with large organizations or the government are reliable. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics, www.aap.org, contains information on nearly any topic for parents. Within the American Academy of Pediatrics, there are committees made up of pediatricians who work to provide the most up-to-date recommendations.
Another website, www.kidshealth.org, is a subset of the AAP. This website is targeted toward children and teens, written in a language they can understand.
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov, provides useful information about international travel, vaccines and infectious diseases such as influenza.
For someone with a chronic illness, there should be a national organization with a website. For example, the American Diabetes Association can be found at www.diabetes.org.
Obviously, there are many other websites that provide useful information, but I would advise parents to fact check the information against known sites and with their doctor. If you have any questions, it could be helpful to print the information and bring it to your appointment.
Beware of websites that are promoting sales of their own products, treatments or supplements.