Dr. Matthew Davis, associate professor in the Child Health Evaluation and Research Unit at the University of Michigan Medical School, says a national poll conducted by the university's C.S. Mott Children's Hospital indicates 68 percent are aware of medical research opportunities for adults.
In contrast, 84 percent of parents are not aware of medical research opportunities for children.
"Medical research is the backbone of improving medical care. Without volunteers, medical research cannot move forward," Davis says in a statement.
"Awareness about research opportunities, which is a necessary step before participation, is reasonably high among adults but strikingly low for children's research. To improve participation rates among children, researchers and institutions evidently need to do a better job of getting the word out to parents."
Participation in research is key to continued medical progress and because of this research, over the last 100 years, U.S. infant mortality has been reduced by 90 percent and millions of deaths from diseases such as polio, diphtheria, pneumonia and influenza have been prevented by vaccines.
Successful pediatric research requires the voluntary participation of children and the support of their parents, Davis says.