Childhood infections, antibiotics, and resistance: what are parents saying now?

Clin Pediatr (Phila). 2014 Feb;53(2):145-50. doi: 10.1177/0009922813505902. Epub 2013 Oct 17.


Parental misconceptions and even "demand" for unnecessary antibiotics were previously viewed as contributors to overuse of these agents. We conducted focus groups to explore the knowledge and attitudes surrounding common infections and antibiotic use in the current era of more judicious prescribing. Among diverse groups of parents, we found widespread use of home remedies and considerable concern regarding antibiotic resistance. Parents generally expressed the desire to use antibiotics only when necessary. There was appreciation of inherent error in the diagnosis of common infections, with most trust placed in providers with whom parents had long-standing relationships. While some parents had experience with "watchful waiting" for otitis media, there was little enthusiasm for this approach. While there may still be room for further education, it appears that parents have become more informed and sophisticated regarding appropriate uses of antibiotics. This has likely contributed to the declines seen in their use nationally.

Keywords: antibiotic use; upper respiratory infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial*
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing* / adverse effects
  • Inappropriate Prescribing* / psychology
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Massachusetts
  • Medicine, Traditional / statistics & numerical data
  • Parents* / education
  • Parents* / psychology
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / drug therapy*
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / therapy
  • Watchful Waiting


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents