Don’t Take Your Baby To A Chiropractor

Don’t Take Your Baby To A Chiropractor

If you have a baby, and if something is wrong with that baby (something always seems wrong), somebody will suggest that you take your baby to a chiropractor. Perhaps you will hear this recommendation even when nothing is wrong. Friends, do not take your baby to the chiropractor.

Wait, why will people want you to take your baby to a chiropractor when nothing is wrong? Because, according to chiropractors, only a chiropractor can detect the tiny mis-alignments of the spine that are definitely totally real (they are not) that cause all of the problems and non-problems of childhood (there is no evidence of this).

So what’s the harm? Well, manipulating a person’s spine, especially their neck, can end badly. Children have died and become paralysed as a result of spinal manipulation, with nine severe cases collected in this 2007 study published in Pediatrics. Of those, five were caused by chiropractors. (The others included a medical doctor, a physical therapist, and two people whose profession was not reported.) In 2013, an Australian chiropractor broke a baby’s neck.

All medical procedures carry some risk, so it’s up to us as patients and parents to decide which risks are worthwhile. Vaccines, for example, have caused severe illness in very, very rare cases. But they are still worthwhile, because going unvaccinated is more dangerous than taking your chances with routine childhood vaccines. Measles causes pneumonia in one of every 20 kids that contracts the disease, and death in one of every 1000. The measles vaccine causes a life-threatening allergic reaction in one out of every 3.5 million to 10 million doses. The smart decision is clear.

Chiropractors do not provide an essential treatment. Any actual problems they claim to treat, like ear infections or reflux, your actual doctor can treat at least as well. (The chiropractor is more likely to try to sell you probiotics or something on your way out the door, but I trust you can figure out where to buy those on your own.) If your kid is having trouble breastfeeding, direct yourself to the Australian Breastfeeding Association and/or contact your assigned carer.

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