Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Does well-child care education improve consultations and medication management for childhood fever and common infections? A systematic review
  1. Kirsten K B Peetoom1,
  2. Jacqueline J M Smits1,
  3. Luc J L Ploum1,
  4. Jan Y Verbakel2,3,
  5. Geert-Jan Dinant1,
  6. Jochen W L Cals1
  1. 1Department of Family Medicine, CAPHRI School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK
  3. 3Department of Public Health and Primary Care, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Kirsten K B Peetoom, Department of Family Medicine, Maastricht University, Maastricht 6200 MD, The Netherlands; kirsten.peetoom{at}


Background Fever is common in preschool children and is often caused by benign self-limiting infections. Parents' lack of knowledge and fever phobia leads to high healthcare consumption.

Objective To systematically review the effect of providing educational interventions about childhood fever and common infections in well-child clinics (WCCs), prior to illness episodes, on parental practices: healthcare-seeking behaviour (frequency of physician consultations, appropriateness of consultations) and medication management.

Design Medline, Embase, CINAHL, PsycINFO, Cochrane Library, Web of Science were searched. We included randomised controlled trials evaluating interventions in WCC settings focusing on educating parents prior to new illness episodes to improve parental practices during episodes of childhood fever and common infections. Data were extracted on study design, sample characteristics, type of intervention, outcome measures and results.

Results Eight studies were eligible for data extraction. Educating parents, in WCCs, prior to new episodes of childhood fever and common infections reduces daytime physician consultations of parents, home visits and telephone consultations, and enhances medication management. However, single and multicomponent interventions vary in effectiveness in reducing the frequency of daytime physician consultations and differ in their potential to reduce the number of home visits and general practitioner out-of-hours contacts. Only multicomponent interventions achieved a reduction in telephone consultations and improved medication management.

Conclusions Educating parents in WCCs prior to episodes of childhood fever and common infections showed potential to improve parental practices in terms of healthcare-seeking behaviour and medication management.

  • Comm Child Health
  • General Paediatrics
  • Health services research
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Nursing Care

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors KKBP conceptualised, designed and coordinated the study, participated in the screening and analysis process, revised the initial manuscript into the final manuscript, and approved the final manuscript as submitted. JJMS and LJLP participated in the screening process and carried out the initial analysis, wrote a draft of the manuscript and approved the final manuscript as submitted. G-JD and JYV critically reviewed the manuscript, and approved the final manuscript as submitted. JWLC conceptualised and supervised the design and execution of the study, critically reviewed the manuscript, and approved the final manuscript as submitted.

  • Funding JWLC is supported by a Veni-grant (91614078) of the Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw).

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.