Background: Most children in day care get infections and are given antibiotics. In physicians' view, the main reason for excessive use is pressure exerted on them by anxious parents. We studied parents' view of physicians' influence on the use of antibiotics.
Material and method: 563 parents (50%) in 22 day care centers returned a questionnaire about their children's infections, use of antibiotics, and their experience with the doctors treating their child.
Results: 70% of parents had confidence in physicians' decisions. Confidence was significantly higher in doctors that they regularly consulted than in others (p = 0.001). 33% had moved on to a new physician on account of too much use of antibiotics (p < 0.05); these parents' children had received more antibiotics than other children (p < 0.05). Parents were dissatisfied with the time set aside for the consultation and with doctors' information and follow up. They expected advice and guidance, not necessarily a prescription. 47% thought that too much antibiotics are prescribed. Satisfaction was associated with less antibiotics for their own child (p < 0.001). Some parents regarded the prescription of antibiotics as doctors' way of saving time and bringing the consultation to an end.
Interpretation: Parents are sceptical of the use of antibiotics in children. More time set aside for the consultation is significantly associated with less use of antibiotics. Better doctor-parent communication may reduce excessive use.