Survey shows parents do a great job keeping up with their children's healthcare, but don't always ask the important questions

Almost half of parents unaware of what their children have been vaccinated against

TORONTO, Sept. 15, 2011 /CNW/ - According to a new survey conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion, a division of Vision Critical, 81 per cent of parents in Ontario rely heavily on their family physicians to make the right choices about vaccinations for their children,i but they leave the doctors' offices not knowing what their children have been vaccinated against.ii Interestingly, three quarters of parents surveyed (72 per cent) also indicate that they rely on their doctor to tell them when their children are due for vaccinations.iii

The Ontario-focused survey looked at a number of areas to understand current attitudes and behaviours when it comes to Ontarians' busy lifestyles, children's vaccinations and parents' priorities.  Results of the survey indicate that, overall, parents think they are doing a great job when it comes to staying on top of their children's health.iv  Parents are far more likely to feel they need to catch up on exercise (53 per cent), sleep (48 per cent) and chores like housework (36 per cent) and repairs (35 per cent) than on their children's health care needs (6 per cent).v  Virtually all parents think their children are up-to-date on their vaccines (92 per cent) but, almost half (46 per cent) admit that they don't know if their children have been vaccinated against serious illnesses like pneumococcal disease.vi

Award winning author, public speaker, television personality and most importantly mother, Kathy Buckworth understands the constant challenges parents face when it comes to balancing areas like children's health. "I often speak to mothers who find it difficult to keep up with the constant demands of parenting and who rush into the doctor's office, forgetting to ask important questions," says Kathy Buckworth. "I try to keep a list of healthcare questions in my purse for my next doctor's appointment.  When it comes to things like vaccinations, I want to be educated and informed.  I like leaving our appointments knowing my kids are healthy and protected."

Not surprising, parents identified their doctor as a key source for information about children's vaccinations (89 per cent).  Websites (43 per cent) and nurses (30 per cent) are also used as resources, as are family members (26 per cent) and friends (24 per cent).vii

While parents generally feel up-to-date on information relating to their children's health care, only one-in-ten parents surveyed are aware that the Ontario government recently announced changes to the vaccination schedule for children under the age of five.viii  Almost two-in-five (38 per cent) parents stated they don't know which disease the vaccination schedule change was for and nearly half (47 per cent) selected the incorrect disease.ix

"Children are at risk from a number of serious vaccine-preventable diseases like pneumococcal disease and immunization updates are recommended to ensure they stay protected," says Dr Michael Weinstein, a hospital based paediatrician and Associate Professor at the University of Toronto.  "Parents need to be aware of updates to vaccination schedules. I'm always happy to answer questions from parents."

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), pneumococcal disease is the leading cause of vaccine-preventable death worldwide in children younger than five years and is estimated to cause up to 800,000 deaths in children each year.x

Pneumococcal disease describes a group of illnesses caused by the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae.xi Pneumococcal disease includes invasive infections such as bacteremia (blood poisoning), sepsis and meningitis, as well as non-invasive infections, such as pneumonia and acute otitis mediaxii (infection of the inner ear).

Updates to provincial immunization schedules are easily found online or parents can speak with their family doctor to ensure their children's vaccines are up-to-date. Parents can also visit online resources like Savvy Mom (www.savvymom.ca) for information on a number of topics, such as vaccinations and tips to help balance a hectic schedule.

The survey was conducted by Angus Reid Public Opinion (a division of Vision Critical) on behalf of one of Canada's leading research based pharmaceutical companies. The survey was administered online among 503 Canadians living in Ontario with children aged four (4) and under, between February 28th and March 8th 2011.  485 survey respondents were randomly recruited from the Angus Reid Forum.  18 survey respondents were recruited from Opinionology.  The margin of error - which measures sampling variability - is +/- 4.4% for the overall sample, 19 times out of 20.

REFERENCES

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i Vision Critical Survey Conducted between February 28th and March 8th 2011.
ii Vision Critical Survey Conducted between February 28th and March 8th 2011.
iii Vision Critical Survey Conducted between February 28th and March 8th 2011.
iv Vision Critical Survey Conducted between February 28th and March 8th 2011.
v Vision Critical Survey Conducted between February 28th and March 8th 2011.
vi Vision Critical Survey Conducted between February 28th and March 8th 2011.
vii Vision Critical Survey Conducted between February 28th and March 8th 2011.
viii Vision Critical Survey Conducted between February 28th and March 8th 2011.
ix Vision Critical Survey Conducted between February 28th and March 8th 2011.
x WHO/2007/94/ C/7-10
xi CDC Pink Book /2008/Chapter 15/218/F and 219/M
xii Canadian Coalition for Immunization and Awareness - http://www.immunize.cpha.ca/en/diseases-vaccines/pneumococcal.aspx Last accessed on: August 30th, 2011

SOURCE beSPEAK Communications

For further information:

Mary-Anne Cedrone
(416) 671-1053
Mary-Anne@bespeakcommunications.com

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