Complementary and Alternative Medicines for Your Child
As previously stated, there has not yet been a lot of conclusive research regarding CAM, yet alone its effects on children. For this reason, it is a parent’s judgment call to decide if this is the best avenue for their child. Possible risks to consider are:
- parents tend to think “natural” is better when, in fact, some treatments may cause more damage if the wrong one is chosen;
- herbal remedies are not FDA regulated and are not required to be consistent, so some may cause liver damage, allergic reactions, or high blood pressure;
- parents may give their children more than the recommended dosage because of their misconceptions about natural drugs, but they fail to realize that even natural plant extracts contain potent chemicals;
- CAM treatments may give a false sense of security and thus have the potential to delay or even stop traditional treatments; and
- because no organization monitors practitioners, they could very well be anyone, certified or not.
Despite the risks, a 2007 National Health Interview survey found the most frequently used CAM treatments were herbs or botanicals, and osteopathic or chiropractic manipulations. These treatments have been used on children for neck and back pain, head or chest colds, anxiety and stress, ADHD, musculoskeletal problems, and insomnia.
When deciding if CAM treatments are best for your child, be sure to thoroughly research the treatment and clear it with your child’s doctor, before starting a regimen.