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Where We Stand: Natural Therapies

​When children have a chronic, serious illness or disability, their parents often turn to "natural" therapies. Words that describe these therapies include alternative, complementary, and folk remedy. These treatments can be used in addition to the care their child is receiving from their pediatrician or other mainstream practitioner, even when they're happy with this traditional care. In some cases, they may have become frustrated with what mainstream medicine offered their child, and they've turned to natural therapies, which continue to increase in popularity.

If you've made the decision to seek natural therapies for your child's care, involve your pediatrician in the process. Your doctor may be able to help you better understand these therapies, whether they have scientific merit, whether claims about them are accurate or exaggerated, and whether they pose any risks to your child's well-being. Keep in mind that a "natural" treatment does not always mean a "safe" one. Your pediatrician can help you determine whether there is a risk of interactions with your child's other medications.

The American Academy of Pediatrics has encouraged pediatricians to:

  • Evaluate the scientific merits of natural therapies
  • Determine whether they might cause any direct or indirect harm
  • Advise parents on the full range of treatment options

If you decide to use a natural therapy, your pediatrician also may be able to assist in evaluating your child's response to that treatment.

Additional Information

Last Updated
Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5, 6th Edition (Copyright © 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics)
The information contained on this Web site should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician. There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.
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