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NIH Clinical Research Trials and You

For Parents and Children

Children are not little adults, yet they are often given medicines and treatments that were only tested in adults. There is a lot of evidence that children’s developing brains and bodies can respond to medicines and treatments differently than how adults respond. The way to get the best treatments for children is through research designed specifically for them.

We have already made great strides in improving children's health outcomes through clinical research. Vaccines, treatments for children with cancer, and interventions for premature babies are just a few examples of how this targeted research can be helpful. However, there are still many questions to answer and more children waiting to benefit.

Should your child participate in a clinical study? We understand that parents and caregivers have many questions when they are considering enrolling a child in a clinical study, and that children and adolescents also want to know what they will go through. The NIH remains committed to ensuring that families trying to decide whether to enroll their child in a clinical study get all the information they need to feel comfortable and make informed decisions. The safety of children remains the utmost priority for all NIH research studies.

The following resources provide information on why clinical studies are important, how children might benefit from participation, and what you should think about before, during, and after joining a study.


Children and Clinical Studies

Watch videos of children, parents, and healthcare providers discussing the benefits and potential challenges of participating in research and learn how clinical studies for children are conducted.

Español: Niños y Estudios Clínicos

Mire esta serie de videos en los cuales los niños, los padres y los proveedores de atención médica hablan sobre los beneficios y algunos posibles retos de participar en estudios clínicos para niños y aprenda cómo se llevan a cabo estas investigaciones.

Kids in Research

Healthy children can help find cures for different diseases and conditions by participating in research studies at the NIH Clinical Center. Visit this website to learn more.

The Children's Inn at NIH

The NIH Children's Inn is a residential "place like home" for sick children and their families who are participating in medical research at the NIH Clinical Center.

Children and Clinical Studies: For Parents and Caregivers

In this video, pediatric clinician-researchers, doctors, and nurses talk about the importance of conducting clinical trials for children while addressing common questions.

NIH Clinical Center Radio: The Role of Children in Clinical Research

The NIH’s Dr. David Wendler discusses why the NIH supports research for children.

NIH Clinical Center Radio: NIH Recognizes Super Siblings

Sibling Day started at the NIH Clinical Center as a way to help recognize the emotional needs of the siblings of NIH patients. Listen to this podcast to learn more.

The Importance of Children in Clinical Trials

Dr. Daniel K. Benjamin, of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, discusses why clinical research is important for children’s health.

Developing Safe and Effective Medicines for Children

Two doctors who are also parents discuss why it is important to conduct clinical research specifically designed for children.

Children Research Volunteers Receive Care and Help Advance Knowledge

The NIH Clinical Center has a long history of treating children who participate in clinical research to improve outcomes and advance knowledge.

Children and Clinical Studies Facebook page External Web Site Policy

Join the discussion about children and clinical studies by posting a comment, sharing a story, or starting a conversation on the Children and Clinical Studies Facebook page.

Children and Clinical Studies

Screenshot from the NIH National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's Children and Clinical Studies website.

Children have often had to accept medicines and treatments based on what is known to work in adults. As a society, we should not agree to this “hand-me-down” approach.

Many efforts are being made to provide proper research for children, to find the best treatments, drugs, and devices for them.

Learn more about children and clinical studies

This page last reviewed on September 4, 2014

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