Research for Children's Health

Why Children Should Participate in Research

Parents want the most advanced therapy for their children. New therapies are available to children once they have been tested in research studies. Yale conducts clinical research of the highest quality in order to offer the best treatments available for children.

It’s normal for parents to have concerns about research in children. Here are some points you should consider:

Yale follows strict rules and regulations regarding the safety of its clinical trials.

The ethical codes and laws that govern medical practice also apply to clinical trials. At Yale, every clinical trial involving children is approved and monitored by a committee comprised of pediatricians and other experts to make sure it is safe. Clinical trials are also approved and monitored by an independent committee of doctors, community advocates, and others, who make certain the rights of study participants are protected. This committee makes sure that the risks are as low as possible and that the potential benefits are worthwhile. 

There are special protections for research involving children.

These special protections for children are part of the codes and laws that govern clinical trials.  At Yale, doctors, nurses, and other experts also carefully review each study in detail before a single child is enrolled.

Your child should have a say in whether or not to participate in a research study.

As a parent, you have to give legal consent for your child to enroll in a research study. But you also need to think about how your child feels about being in a study. There is a process called “assent,” which means that children are given basic facts about a study and asked to be part of the decision. All kids are different. Some may want to be part of the process, while others may not. Some children may be uncertain, fearful, or too young to understand what is being asked of them. At any age, your child’s input should be valid and he or she should feel comfortable.

It’s up to you.

As a parent you must be comfortable with what your child will be doing in a study. Make sure you understand the possible risks and benefits and how they apply to your child. Get to know the study team, whose job it is to protect your child. Make sure you understand your rights when your child participates in a study. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Courtesy of the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute

The Importance of Participation

The vaccinations, medicines, and other medical advances that help keep your child healthy are available thanks to families who are willing to participate in clinical research. 

A study conducted in 2013 found that 44 % of parents would consider allowing their children to participate in clinical research if their children had the disease being studied. Yet only about 5 percent of families have a child who has taken part in a research study. 

Whether it’s a study to test a new vaccine or medicine or answer questions about mental health or nutrition, it’s important for children to participate to help make sure new treatments are safe and effective.

Source: C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, 2013