Parenting and Science Part 1: Vaccinations

I am no parenting expert. I have a two year old son, he is my only child and like most parents, my wife and I are learning as we go. However, I do tend to have a lot of advice for new parents, or soon to be parents, based on my own research and I have lots of opinions on the do’s and don’ts of parenting.

My opinions comes from science. I like to base my views on empirical evidence whenever possible. So I am going to blog about parenting advice. I am not the be all end all, but I will link to great resources to help you along your way in making these decisions.

So I will attempt to make this a new series of posts on my blog, starting today with part 1.


One of the first things you will be asked about in the hospital are the vaccinations. This seems like a scary decision, you just got your new born baby in your arms and they want to stick it full of drugs and poke them with needles? What are the side effects? Are they dangerous? How important are these vaccinations, can’t we get them for our kid later, when they are older?

These are all valid questions, but there are not different answers (barring any known health issues brought up by the doctor). Get vaccinated. This is one of the most important things you can do for your child, and the other children you child will come in contact with. They do not have a very strong immune system, and there are lots of viruses and diseases they are susceptible to. You should also keep in mind, if your child is not vaccinated and happens to be carrying a virus, they could infect a child who for medical reasons cannot be vaccinated. We must think about vaccines globally, we should all be looking out for each other. Do not simply rely on the hope that everyone else is vaccinated so you and your child are safe. We have a responsibility to everyone our child will come into contact with. Take this responsibility seriously.

First things first. Parents. Get your vaccinations! You are the first place they can get these illnesses from. Get your whooping cough shot and your flu shot, well in advance. Don’t get them the day of, or after, get them weeks before. Especially the mothers. Its very important that you have your flu shot up to date during your pregnancy.

Follow the doctors recommendations on your child’s vaccines. Avoid the pseudoscientific claims of people like Dr Sears who will try to sell you on a vaccine schedule that is not medically approves or tested and will result in long periods of time that your child will not be vaccinated against.

Here is the CDC info on child vaccinations and schedule:

The most important thing to remember is vaccines are safe and very effective. They have been medically and scientifically tested for safety. Countless reports and studies are conducted to continue monitoring each and every vaccines safeness and effectiveness. Your doctor and medical professionals are here to help you and your child. This is something very important to keep in mind. If you have questions or concerns, you should speak to your doctor. They will better explain and set your mind at ease about this decision.

Here are some links to great articles about vaccination, You will notice many come from the same or similar blogs. These are all science related parenting sites who all do an amazing job citing their sources and presenting you scientific facts, not their own personal opinions. I recommend following each and every one of these sites as well. They are worth it.


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  • Momma, PhD

    I am a member of the choir, but always enjoy this kind of evidence-based preaching. Preach on!

    • Dan Arel

      Hi Momma, PhD, I actually follow you (I think its you!) and a bunch of moms and parents blogs and on twitter. Lat weeks #parentscience inspired this blog post.