With the Internet at our finger tips; questions can be quickly answered, but how accurate is the information?
Accurate information is especially critical when it comes to infant sleep safety.
Reading and following inaccurate information about infant sleep safety can put babies in danger for injury or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Google and Safe Infant Sleep Recommendations
A new study entitled, “Safe Infant Sleep Recommendations on the Internet: Let’s Google It” was recently published in the Journal of Pediatrics.
This study examines the accuracy of the results from Google when searching for infant sleep safety. Researchers created 13 key phrases that reflected the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations for infant sleep safety, and studied 1,300 websites – they found that 43.5 percent of the websites provided accurate information, 28.1 percent of the websites provided inaccurate information, and 28.4 percent of the websites did not provide relevant information regarding infant sleep safety.
When examining the websites, researchers also found that government and organizational websites provided the most accurate information. Websites such as blogs, product reviews, and personal websites had the most inaccurate information, and news websites provided accurate information only half of the time.
Interview with co-author Brandi Joyner, MSA
Decoded Science had the opportunity to interview the co-author of the study, Brandi Joyner, MSA. We asked Joyner what her recommendation is for parents who are looking for accurate information, and she responded: “Parents should rely on government agency sites or the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) for the most up-to-date information about healthy infant sleep practices. If they use other sites, they should always try and cross reference and use multiple sources, like the AAP, to find the most accurate information.”
Decoded Science also asked Joyner about the accuracy of news websites and her recommendation for reporters and writers. Joyer responded: “What we found was that some news coverage focused on the controversies as opposed to the actual safe sleeping guidelines. It’s especially important that we provide consistent and accurate information to adults because when there is conflicting information it’s easier for parents to discredit any of it, including the guidelines.”
So when it comes to getting answers to your questions, you have to examine what your sources are. To distinguish a website that is more likely to have accurate information, Joyer says, “When determining if a site should be trusted, we found that .gov or .org sites tend to be more credible than .com sites.”
This study will hopefully bring to light that not all information in the internet should be trusted. When it comes to child safety, parents should also consult with their child’s pediatrician. For accurate information and guidelines regarding infant sleep safety, the American Academy of Pediatrics is an informative and trusted website. Another accurate website, HealthyChildren.org a sister site to the American Academy of Pediatrics is easy to use and understand.
Matthew Chung, BSc, Rosalind P. Oden, Brandi L. Joyner, MSA, Alexandra Sims, BA, Rachel Y. Moon, MD. Safe Infant Sleep Recommendations on the Internet: Let’s Google It. (2012). Journal of Pediatrics. DOI 10.1016/ j.jpeds.2012.06.004. Accessed August 3, 2012.