Infant teething information on the world wide web: taking a byte out of the search.

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BACKGROUNDThe purpose of this study was to describe and evaluate the quality of infant teething information on selected popular parenting Web sites.METHODSTwo checklists were used to evaluate the quality of the 16 parenting sites and infant teething-specific content included on each site.RESULTSThree of the 16 parenting sites did not contain teething-specific articles. Teething-specific content found on 13 of the 16 sites supported a connection between the process of teething and nonspecific symptoms with a perception that management is required. Popular management strategies included chewing on chilled objects, gingival massage, and the use of over-the-counter medications. Information about possible adverse effects of administering medications for infant teething was not found on the majority of sites. Eleven of the 16 sites advised parents to contact their primary care provider if they were uncertain about management for infant teething or whether the symptoms were related to illness.CONCLUSIONSAlthough infant teething has an evidence base from which parents and professionals can make safe decisions about symptoms and treatment, translating the evidence into professional practice and health-related information on the Internet remains a challenge. Parents and pediatric health providers would benefit greatly from the development of clinical practice guidelines summarizing our present-day understanding of teething symptoms and the limited evidence supporting the use of over-the-counter medications.

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