Paediatric Chiropractic Safety

Paediatric Chiropractic Safety Review 2019

The Safety of Chiropractic Spinal Manipulation of Children Under 12.

The Safer Care Victoria (SCV) independent review on paediatric chiropractic safety is complete and the results speak for themselves.

Due to community concern over paediatric chiropractic safety a review into the safety of chiropractic spinal manipulation of children under 12 was conducted by Safer Care Victoria. The independent panel included experts in paediatrics and musculoskeletal care, consumers, and representatives from the Chiropractic Board of Australia and Australian Chiropractors Association. The panel examined and assessed the available evidence, including information from consumers, providers, and other stakeholders, for the use of spinal manipulation by chiropractors on children less than 12 years of age.

 Did you know Australian Chiropractors are 5 year university trained and are government registered and regulated healthcare professionals?

📊 Of approximately 300,000 visits to chiropractors each week, approximately 30,000 of these visits are children under the age of 18 years of age.

📄 21,824 submissions were made – the largest of any public stakeholder engagement.

 99.7% of submissions from the public reported a positive experience with chiropractic care of their children.

95.8% stated that they were “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the information provided about the risk of treatment.

❓Did you know in Australia there has never been a serious adverse event reported in the literature or in insurance claims involving the care of a child by a chiropractor. This is despite the fact that there have been an estimated 12-15 million visits by children to chiropractors over the last 20 years.

 Of the 21,824 submissions 98% said that chiropractic care helped their child – indicating improvement after treatment.

 99.1% indicated that they were either “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with information provided by the chiropractor about the benefits of treatment.

 68.9% reported that they had also consulted with their GP about the problem.


Extracts from Safer Care Victoria Report:


“Summary of Findings


Review of Evidence of Harm

An extensive search was undertaken to identify evidence of harm sustained by children who had received spinal manipulation. This included a literature review by Cochrane Australia, capture of patient complaints and practitioner notification data from Australian complaints and regulatory agencies, capture of Australian insurance claim data from the primary insurers for registered chiropractors, and stakeholder feedback from both online consultations.

This extensive search identified very little evidence of patient harm occurring in Australia. In particular, there were no patient complaints or practitioner notifications that arose from significant harm to a child following spinal manipulation.

Public consultation

SCV wished to hear from parents and guardians of children who had accessed chiropractic spinal care, exploring their experiences, both positive and negative. This was achieved through an online consultation process using the Victorian Government’s Engage.Vic platform. Through this platform, 21,824 submissions were received from members of the public who had accessed chiropractic spinal care for a child under 12 years. This is the largest number of submissions received to date through Engage.Vic or any public stakeholder engagement.

The public responses indicated very strong consumer satisfaction. Of all respondents, 99.7% (21,750) reported a positive experience with the chiropractic care of their children. The overwhelming majority of parents/guardians reported that chiropractic spinal care helped their child, with 98% (21,474) indicating that their child improved after treatment. It was clear that parents/guardians appreciated the time that their child’s chiropractor took to listen to their child’s symptoms and to engage with them and their child. A sentiment that was strongly expressed was the right of a parent/guardian to choose their child’s care.

Parents/guardians reported that they accessed chiropractic care for their child for a wide range of conditions and complaints, including maintaining general health and wellbeing. The most common conditions included posture concerns, colic, neck pain, difficulty with breastfeeding, back pain and headache.

A very small minority of respondents – 0.3% (74) – reported a negative experience. These experiences mostly related to concerns about the cost of treatment with no improvement in the condition, excessive use of X-rays, or perceived pressure to avoid medications or advice previously provided by other practitioners, including medical practitioners.”

When did you or your children last see your chiropractor?

Dr Emily Petherbridge (B.Sc M.Chiro) has a keen interest in paediatric chiropractic care and completed a 2 year post graduate Diplomate in paediatric chiropractic. She has 10 years experience as a chiropractor in Hornsby and currently runs her own practice at Little Spines in Hornsby.

📞 To book an appointment to have you or your children assessed at Little Spines  contact us or call or sms 0401 839 072.

For more information on the COAG and SCV process visit Safer Care Victoria

Images: Australian Chiropractic Association