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
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.