Chiropractic Care for Children

One of the most common questions asked by patients in a chiropractic clinic (and one of the most common reasons why parents may be hesitant to bring their children in for chiropractic care) is:

Is chiropractic care safe for children?

When discussing this issue, there are many studies you can refer to.

One study looked at all of the available medical literature over a 31 year period specifically focussing on the safety of chiropractic care.

In more than 31 years of medical literature worldwide, this study reported only one questionable reported case of injury to a child as a result of chiropractic care.


With only one questionable report of injury to a child following chiropractic care, in 31 years of medical literature, researchers agree that… potential risk is so low it cannot be accurately estimated.

One study did attempt to quantify the risk to a child associated with chiropractic care.

This study showed the risk to be extremely low: one in 250 million…to one in 700 million paediatric visits!

The author of that study admitted that the true risk to a child is probably far less than those figures indicate.

Another study was published in the American Academy of Pediatrics Journal in April 2007. The author of this study determined that in the eleven year period from 1993 to 2004 there were no serious adverse events related to paediatric chiropractic healthcare.

So what is this really saying about the safety of chiropractic care for children?

In the USA alone (not including Australia and the rest of the world), there are about 30 million visits by children to chiropractors each year…

This means that in the 11 year period from 1993 to 2004 there were approximately 330 million visits by children to chiropractors in the USA, and over 350 million visits by children to chiropractors worldwide.

So let’s stop for a moment and contemplate what the statistics are saying:

The number of serious adverse events in over 350 million visits to chiropractors made by children worldwide


Not a single one!

Does this suggest to you that chiropractic is safe for children?

Does this suggest to you that chiropractic care just may be THE safest form of health care you can participate in with your child?

We think so…

Here’s some more research demonstrating the safety of chiropractic care for children…

The following study was presented at the 2008 Chiropractic Paediatric Research Symposium here in Australia:

“Are there complications of spinal manipulative therapy in children under three years of age? A retrospective study in a chiropractic teaching clinic.”

Joyce Miller BSc DC FACO FCC (UK)
Kate Benfield BSc DC (UK)

Their conclusion…

“…based on this analysis of 697 paediatric patients undergoing 5242 treatments…Chiropractic is a safe form of therapy in the treatment of patients under the age of three.”

So let’s compare the risk of medical management of children.

“Reported Adverse Drug Events in Infants and Children Under 2 Years of Age”

This was authored by two medical doctors, a PhD and a pharmacist.

Drug therapy was associated with an average of 243 reported deaths annually over the 38 month study period!

The study concluded “…adverse reactions to drug therapy are a significant cause of death and injury in infants and children under 2 years of age”.

How can this happen?

Well, it’s not surprising when you look at the following article…

“Drug Research and Children”
Michelle Meadows
FDA Consumer Magazine
January 2003

The article states:

“Most drugs prescribed for children have not been tested in children. Only 20% to 30% of drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration are labelled for paediatric use”.

“So by necessity doctors have routinely given drugs to children ‘off label’, which means the drug hasn’t been studied in children in adequate, well-controlled clinical trials”.

According to another study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one out of every 17 times a medication is ordered to be given to a hospitalised child, the child receives the wrong drug or dose!

This study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001:

“Medication errors and adverse drug events in paediatric inpatients”

Kaushal R, Bates DW, Landrigan C, McKenna KJ, Clapp MD, Federico F, Goldmann DA
JAMA 2001

The authors stated quite clearly that medication errors and adverse drug events are three times higher in children than in adults and substantially higher still for neonates.


The safety of chiropractic care for children…

Compared to medical care for children…

The research shows us there is no comparison.


So, should anyone (even your medical doctor) or any ill-informed TV show or newspaper question your decision to bring your child to a chiropractor…

Should they question the safety of chiropractic care for children…

Why not tell them the FACTS on the SAFETY of chiropractic care for children!



References and additional research supporting the safety of chiropractic for children:
Pistolese RA. Risk assessment of neurological and/or vertebrobasilar complications in the pediatric chiropractic patient. J Vertebral Sublux Res 1998;2(2):73-81.
Vange B. Contact between preschool children with chronic diseases and the authorized health services and forms of alternative therapy. Ugeskr Laeger 1989;151(28):1815-8
Crawford JP, Byoung YH, Asselbergs PJ, Hickson GS. Vascular ischemia of the cervical spine: a review of the relationship to therapeutic manipulation. J Manipulative Physiol Ther 1984;7(3):149-55.
Dvorak J, Baumgartner L, Burn JB, et al. Consensus and recommendations as to the side effects and complications of manual therapy of the cervical spine. J Manual Medicine 1991;6:117-8.
Fossgren J. Complications in manual medicine. J Manual Medicine 1991;6:83-4.
Anrig, C. Chiropractic — Is It Safe for Children? Dynamic Chiropractic – September 7, 1998, Vol. 16, Issue 19
Marchand, AM. Chiropractic care of children from birth to adolescence and classification of reported conditions: an internet cross-sectional survey of 956 European chiropractors.  Jun;35(5):372-80. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2012.04.008. Epub 2012 May 22.
Alcantara J, Ohm J, Kunz D. The safety and effectiveness of pediatric chiropractic: a survey of chiropractors and parents in a practice-based research network.  Explore (NY). 2009 Sep-Oct;5(5):290-5. doi: 10.1016/j.explore.2009.06.002.
Vohra, S, Johnston B, Cramer K, and Humphrey K. Adverse Events Associated With Pediatric Spinal Manipulation: A Systematic Review. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2006-1392

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