The Commonwealth Fund Survey of Parents with Young Children

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Country: United States

Survey Organizations: Princeton Survey Research Associates and DataStat, Inc.

Field Dates: July 1995–January 1996

Sample: Parents with children younger than three years of age

Sample Size: 2,017

Interview Method: Telephone

Opportunities for parents to get their infants and toddlers off to a good start are being missed by the health care system. This nationwide representative survey of more than 2,000 mothers and fathers with children under age 3 finds that most parents view the pediatric health care system as meeting the physical health needs of their young children. Yet, parents want more information and support from doctors on how they can help their children thrive and learn during the critically important first years.

Parents are eager for information on six areas of child rearing—newborn care, sleep patterns, how to respond to a crying baby, toilet training, discipline, and encouraging their child to learn. Most parents (79%) feel they could use more information in at least one of these six areas of parenting. More than half (53%) want more information or help in at least three areas. Parents say they would like more information from their health care professionals about encouraging their child to learn (54%), discipline (42%), toilet training (41%), sleep patterns (30%), and responding to a crying baby (23%). The interventions of pediatric clinicians can positively affect parental behavior. For example, breast-feeding and reading to the child on a daily basis were much more likely if a physician encouraged parents to do so.

To view the survey questions, download the attachment posted at right. To read an analysis of the survey, see the Fund publication under Related Resources, on the right.

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