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Safe for babies to receive ‘gentle’ chiropractic care

Safe for babies to receive ‘gentle’ chiropractic care
Dr Ashley Liew, Vice-President, The Chiropractic Association (Singapore)

I refer to the article “#trending: Are chiropractic treatments for babies safe? Surge in ‘chirobaby’ TikTok videos raises concern” (Sept 20).

The Chiropractic Association (Singapore), or TCA(S), is heartened that there is more awareness about paediatric chiropractic care for those below 18, including babies, with increased utilisation of chiropractic as a non-invasive approach for wellness care.

First, paediatric chiropractic care is safe, gentle, and specific.

According to a research paper published in 2009 in the peer-reviewed journal, Explore, chiropractic responders indicated only three adverse events from 5,438 office visits involving the care of 577 children of an average age of 7.45 years.

To put that in perspective, reported adverse events only made up 0.055 per cent of total paediatric visits, and in these events were only limited to muscle stiffness which eventually self-resolved. There were no serious injuries reported.

Next, chiropractic is perceived as effective by chiropractors, parents, and caregivers alike. In the same paper, 518 out of the same 577 children cared for reported an improvement in their presenting complaint attributed to the chiropractic care received, making up the vast majority.

It is important to note that chiropractors undergo a rigorous academic curriculum.

For example, the Sherman College of Chiropractic in the United States, where I studied, requires 5,032 core hours before graduation.

On top of this, chiropractors intending to care for the paediatric community are encouraged to take additional certifications specific to this field, such as the International Chiropractic Paediatric Association’s Certification Programme involving 200 hours of comprehensive training pertaining to the safe care of children (including babies) and pregnant women.

TCA(S) members trained in paediatric care are expected to uphold safe and professional standards of care, especially important for this age group.

A thorough assessment must first be done by the trained chiropractor to assess whether it is appropriate to adjust that patient.

These standards on babies mean that chiropractic adjustment on babies involves only the gentlest of pressure applied to a specific spinal vertebra, with about the same amount of force used to check a tomato’s ripeness.

There is no popping, cracking, or twisting, especially on babies. As such, TCA(S) does not advocate chiropractors attempting to make viral or dramatic videos that feature anything aggressive or potentially unsafe to the patient.

Since chiropractic in Singapore remains a self-regulated industry, we advise the public to seek TCA(S) registered members who are held to higher standards of ethics and professionalism.

It is safe and effective for the vast majority of children and babies to receive gentle chiropractic care, as long as the chiropractor has the right training and preferably paediatric-specific certification.

Members of the public who are in need of a paediatric chiropractor may approach TCA(S) for recommendations.


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