Although a majority of U.S. adults say they trust all or most online health data, most Internet search results related to infant sleep safety are irrelevant or inaccurate, according to a new study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, HealthDay reports (Dallas, HealthDay, 8/3).
The study noted that previous research found that:
- 72% of surveyed U.S. adults said they trust all or most online health data; and
- 70% of surveyed adults said they use such online data to improve their health or their child's health (Glynn, Medical News Today, 8/2).
For the study, researchers at the Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., analyzed 1,300 Google search results for 13 phrases related to infant sleep safety, such as "infant sleep position" and "pacifier infant."
The study analyzed the first 100 Google results for each phrase to see if the information aligned with up-to-date recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics (Lupkin, ABC News, 8/2).
In total, the researchers looked at 1,300 websites and found that:
- 43.5% of the websites provided accurate data;
- 28.4% provided irrelevant data; and
- 28.1% provided inaccurate data.
When the irrelevant websites were excluded, 60.8% of the sites contained accurate information, the study found (Medical News Today, 8/2).
Accuracy by Website Type
Researchers also analyzed the accuracy of certain types of websites and found that:
- 80% of data provided by government websites were accurate;
- 73% of data provided by organizational websites were accurate;
- 46% of data provided by personal websites were accurate;
- 36% of data provided by retail product review websites were accurate; and
- 31% of data provided by blogs were accurate (HealthDay, 8/3).
The authors recommended that government agencies and other websites review and update their infant sleep safety data.
They also suggested that health care providers give parents an updated list of websites where they can find up-to-date AAP recommendations on infant sleep safety (Medical News Today, 8/2).