Parents, Please Don’t Seek Medical Advice On Facebook!

Mummies & daddies, please…

Stop consulting Facebook groups for medical advice. I know you mean well and worry for your kiddo, but strangers online aren’t a reliable source of guidance for medical matters.

As group admin for our Bump, Baby & You Facebook group, this seriously grinds my gears something chronic.

(Obviously we aren’t talking minor issues like teething and snotty noses here, just to clarify.)

Qualified professionals aren’t allowed to give medical advice over the web; and even then, you never truly know who you are talking to. Anyone can create a fake profile, fake career, fake credentials, and claim to be medically qualified. I’ve come across fake doctors, fake nurses, and even teenage hotel workers pretending to be 28 year old Health Visitors (true story, if you’re the lass I’m referring to and you’re reading this, you’re seriously mental), which took me all of 5 minutes to unearth the lies, but more vulnerable mummies may be more easily taken in.

If your child is displaying symptoms that are concerning you enough to need to seek outside advice, please seek the RIGHT advice; someone qualified, through official channels, and who is able to physically examine your child if needed… not your favourite Facebook mummy group. The groups have their advantages and benefits, but medical advice is beyond our remit.

Another issue is time; you are wasting precious time waiting for comments – and if your group admin have turned on pre-approval for posts, you are potentially wasting even more time waiting for your post to be approved, or wasting time if your post is declined and the admin team go out of their way to message you, urging you to seek legit medical help.

I’ll be honest; nothing makes me wince more than seeing videos of babies struggling to breathe, sporting angry rashes, huge lumps on their heads from falls, scarily high temperatures, questions about reduced movements etc popping up in our groups pending post inbox.

We’ve cracked down on posts about rashes, breathing issues and anything that we deem medically urgent now, as we’ve reached the point that people are trying to use the group as a medical resource. We’ll either approve, leave appropriate NHS signposting and turn comments off, or decline the post and inbox the member.

We are a support group, absolutely, but beyond minor issues like teething and grazes, we absolutely cannot give medical advice or allow other members to give it. It wastes time that could be spent contacting 111/999 instead of reading comments from strangers online, it puts the health of little ones at risk, and it puts our necks on the lines because if a child was to become seriously unwell or worse due to poor advice given in our group, we’d be liable! We would never ever forgive ourselves.

We are continuing to approve posts about reduced movements as they’re a good opportunity to raise awareness and share Kicks Count information, as other members who are unaware of what to do/when to act will see the post and learn something, but we will turn comments off after enough resources are signposted.

So again, mummies and daddies, please don’t waste time. If you’re worried enough to reach out for advice, reach out to the professionals – not Facebook.

Here is the NHS advice on treating poorly children and where to seek professional help.

How do you feel about posts on Facebook asking for medical advice? Tell me in the comments!

Love from Katie. Xx

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