Skip to main content

American Academy of Pediatrics

I have a bone to pick with the AAP. Call me the product of the internet age, but I expect more out of a collection of 60,000 pediatricians. Good information on the health of our children is everywhere these days. What parents really need is someone to give unbiased, research-based, intelligent advice about tough issues.

Sadly, I've come to the conclusion that the AAP ain't it.

Maybe I'm jaded about doctors in general after a month-long NICU stay with my daughter. Maybe doctors are just a conservative bunch who aren't browsing the internet everyday like this admittedly geeky dad who reads the news.

But lately the AAP has been a little suspect in my eyes. It started when I read a nice book about how educational tv you watch with your kids is much different than junk tv on as a babysitter. See also the recent Spongebob versus PBS study, too. Yet the AAP discourages even background tv from parents before the age of 2.

They ignore research and positive effects of co-sleeping and the better technologies available for it. They were late to the game on recommending boys get the HPV vaccine. Oh, not to mention their recent cholesterol screenings for kids thing.

What bothers me is that plenty of parents don't bother to do the information gathering on their own though. They take a group of doctors at their word and it comes across as straight from God. This is what science tells us.

As parents, we're all free to to what's best for our kids. For me, I just think they could do a better job of updating to meet the needs of the 21st century parent. I'm no anti-vaccine crazy, doctor-hating conspiracy theorist. I just wish medicine was a little more real life rather than talking down to us.


  1. Not everyone is an educated consumer or an informed parent. There are many less than stellar parents out there. Recommendations are just that, recommendations. There is some research but also a lot of politics and American social norms that go into these recommendations. Its unfortunate that some of these recommendations even exist. I feel for one that the cosleeping thing is largely based on society. Mostly we have been conditioned to have babies sleep alone in nurseries. Also the habits of the average american go against cosleeping (drinking, smoking, sleep aids, obesity... the list could go on forever.) The cholesterol thing is scary but I can also see where that comes from. A LOT of parents do not feed their children well and we are seeing obesity and sedentary lifestyles develop in the very young. Many kids don't eat breakfast anymore and your average highschooler doesn't consume 5 servings of fruits and veggies a WEEK (not a day).
    So I can see where these come from. If there is just a handful of sick or injured kids (let alone an epidemic), there is enough pressure to make a recommendation. The HPV vaccine was both political and "scary". Scary because a patient fainted after receiving the vaccine. It was related the needle phobia and not the vaccine itself. But it only takes "one" to put that on the list of side-effects.
    I don't think we should scold the AAP because in the end it doesn't raise our kids. But it may help the average uninformed parent, or maybe not.

  2. I hear what you're saying. Esp. politics and social norms going into it. But I think that's exactly WHY I hold the AAP up to a higher standard. A lot of uninformed parents take what they say as set in stone. And I don't think we should let diminishing intellect in our culture let a professional group dumb down what really should be science-related outcomes. I think what this whole experience with Leda taught me is that while I am skeptical of doctors as a group of people, I'm still a big believer in modern medicine. And science more generally.


Post a Comment