Purpose: Complementary and alternative healthcare practices have increased substantially in the United States especially with low-income ethnic minority mothers. These mothers often have provider mistrust, language barriers, differing health belief systems, and as a result are less likely to seek preventive health screening, access healthcare services, and use alternative remedies for their infants and children that are potentially harmful or lethal. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to examine healthcare beliefs, commonly used alternative healthcare practices, and their potential complications for infants and children.
Data sources: A search of CINAHL and PubMed (1980-2012) was conducted using the following terms: alternative healthcare practice, mothers' health beliefs, cultural health beliefs, folk remedies, and infant health practices.
Conclusion: Given the changing U.S. population and an increasing immigrant population, examining alternative healthcare practices mothers use for their infants and children is especially important for providers in addressing healthcare for this group.
Implications for practice: The use of alternative healthcare practices is rarely discussed by parents with healthcare providers for fear of disapproval. When interviewing ethnic minority mothers and caregivers questions should include the use of alternative healthcare practices for infants and children and information regarding the potential dangers should be provided to them.
Keywords: Minority; complementary and alternative medicine (CAM); culture; ethnic; infants; lead poisoning; low income.
©2014 American Association of Nurse Practitioners.