In the last month, I have talked to two different mothers who have babies with acid reflux, and each has expressed her reluctance to give her baby reflux medication. Each parent gave a similar reason for not wanting to treat their child’s medical condition: “I just don’t like the idea of giving my baby medication.”
I completely understand. There are a lot of good reasons to hesitate before giving a baby medicine. First, there is the general hassle factor. Keeping a prescription current and administering the medication at the recommended times can be taxing on both the parent and on the child. There are also the potential side effects of the medication. Several of the reflux medications have not been tested extensively on babies or on children, which means that finding the correct dosages for a baby or a child can be a guessing game, and medication side effects are always a possibility.
Yes, there are drawbacks to giving medication to babies and children.
However, I would like to present a point of view that may help you consider treatment decisions for your child from a wider perspective. In Part I of this blog, I address the issue of child treatment from a global standpoint. In Part II, I will narrow the argument down a bit. I wish I had seen my own son’s condition through a wider lens when I first heard statements such as, “Some babies just cry and are miserable until they outgrow this condition.”
In 1990, the United Nations enacted the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/k2crc.htm). This document was created by independent experts in the field of human rights from around the world. Basically, the document spells out the basic human rights of babies and children everywhere. In general, the document tells the reader that the general assembly of the United Nations recognizes that the inherent dignity and the equal rights of all members of the human family are the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Inside the document, there is specific language such as “a child should enjoy a full and decent life, in conditions which ensure dignity.”
The purpose of the document is to remind communities of the fundamental human rights and the worth of every human person, even babies and children. The document emphasizes this point with statements such as, “Childhood is entitled to special care and assistance.”
I hope that if you are hesitant about treating your baby or child’s condition, you can reflect a few moments on the writings of the global experts. They didn’t know you or your child when they wrote the document, but what they probably did know, was that if your child is healthy and happy, and treated with dignity, then you and your family will be better able to contribute to your community and to your society. And that, makes life better for all of us.
Published On: May 16, 2007