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Pediatrics. 2006 Sep;118(3):e657-68.

Pediatricians' knowledge, training, and experience in the care of children with fetal alcohol syndrome.

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  • 1Center for Human Growth and Development, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-0406, USA.



Prenatal exposure to alcohol interferes with fetal development and is the leading preventable cause of birth defects and developmental disabilities. The purpose of this study was to identify current knowledge, diagnosis, prevention, and intervention practices related to fetal alcohol syndrome and related conditions by members of the American Academy of Pediatrics.


This study was developed collaboratively by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Questionnaires were mailed to a 3% random sample (n = 1600) of American Academy of Pediatrics members in the United States. General pediatricians, pediatric subspecialists, and pediatric residents were included.


Participation rate was 55% (n = 879). Respondents almost universally knew the teratology and clinical presentation of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. However, they were less likely to report comfort with routine pediatric care of these children. Whereas 62% felt prepared to identify and 50% felt prepared to diagnose, only 34% felt prepared to manage and coordinate the treatment of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Even fewer (n = 114 [13%]) reported that they routinely counsel adolescent patients about the risks of drinking and pregnancy.


The survey confirms that pediatricians are knowledgeable about fetal alcohol syndrome but do not feel adequately trained to integrate the management of this diagnosis or prevention efforts into everyday practice. Furthermore, the respondents were not active in routine anticipatory guidance with adolescents for prevention of alcohol-affected pregnancies. The development, dissemination, and implementation of best practice tools for prevention, diagnosis, and referral of fetal alcohol syndrome that are specific for general and subspecialist pediatricians are recommended.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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