Previous studies have indicated the use of medication by children to be dependent on the attitudes of knowledge of their parents; however, little is known about sources parents might use in driving medication use decisions.
The aim of this study was to describe the information sources that parents use regarding their children's medication and their perceptions of the reliability of these information sources.
This study is part of a cross-sectional population survey with a random sample of 6000 children younger than 12 years. The response rate of the questionnaire was 67%. Parents were asked about the use of information sources and their perception of reliability with a list of 16 information sources.
The information sources that parents reported having used were physicians (72%), patient information leaflets (PILs) (67%), public or school health nurses (52%), and pharmacists (44%). Regardless of the child's age, physicians were the parents' most-used information source. Physicians were the most-used information source also when the child had at least 1 of the 4 most common long-term diseases among children in Finland (asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis). Parents considered physicians (50%), PILs (31%), pharmacists (27%), nurses (20%), and public or school health nurses (17%) very reliable information sources.
Finnish parents seek information from health care professionals and PILs when looking for information concerning their children's medication. Furthermore, they find health care professionals and PILs to be reliable information sources.