Review of the Healthy Children for iPhone, iPad, and Android
The internet is awash with information for parents. Some of that information is correct, some misleading, and some — like serially disproven links between vaccinations and neurodevelopment — are dangerous.
In an attempt to provide more accurate information for parents, the American Academy of Pediatrics developed www.healthychildren.org to deliver verified information to parents, answer frequently asked questions, and to provide a resource for locating board-certified pediatricians. The Healthy Children App provides that pediatrician verified content in a mobile app form.
The app is simple to use and divided into a number of sections: available AAP apps, tips and tools, newsletters and tweets from the AAP, and a variety of age and topic specific information.
The Age and Stages category covers major age categories in a child’s life, from prenatal to young adulthood. The information is divided into articles that users can scroll through or topics that can be selected from a dropdown menu — choosing a topic opens articles on that topic alone. Each category covers the child’s expected development and commonly asked questions and concerns parents have, although it does not include an explanation of what to expect at various well-child visits or the schedule of expected vaccines at those visits.
The other sections are divided into topics such as Healthy Living or Family life, so only article selection is possible in those sections. For all content, there are two font sizes available. These sections include a broad range of information about healthy activities, nutrition, activities, oral health, safety, and family dynamics. Topics on areas as diverse as car seats for obese children to avoiding tooth decay in bottle fed infants have short easy-to-read explanations including background information and bullet point recommendations for what parents should look for and do.
Users can scroll through articles by sliding back and forth in the article menu on the bottom of the screen but there is no “back button” to return to previously read content. Users cannot favorite or tag specific articles and cannot email articles, text links directly from the app, or share the content on social media directly. The tweet button calls up the HealthyChildren twitter feed but does not permit linking user’s own Twitter feed
There is an “Ask the Pediatrician” function where users (free registration required) can ask questions or search for topics. Additionally, the app includes a “find a pediatrician” function that enables searching for board certified Pediatricians by zip code but only minimal information is available and there is no function to flag, star, or rate providers.
The app is somewhat buggy and, while it never crashed during my usage, it did lag, especially in the “Ask the Pediatrician” function. HealthyChildren requires a registration, which is free, but registering from within the app lagged and froze the app, so users should register on the website and then log in.
Users with AAP logins, such as those used by AAP members, have to change their login from the AAP number to their email address, which then requires them to change their logins on all other AAP sites and apps, which is frustrating.
- Pediatrician-vetted content for parents
- Information is divided into easy-to-search, easy-to-use formats
- App bugs, lag
- Difficult registration process
- Unable to share or bookmark articles from the app
The Healthy Children app is a useful app for pediatricians to share information and for parents to access information from a trusted source. The content is great but limited by the app’s user interface – a few simple improvements (for example, sharing and favoriting articles) can make it a must-have app.
- Overall Score
- User Interface
Interface is very easy to use, but app lag as well as lack of sharing and bookmarking make it frustrating to use.
- Multimedia Usage
There is some video but it is not well integrated. The limitations in scrolling through articles and settings choices (like font size) limit its use of mobile technology.
The app, and registration, are free.
- Real World Applicability
Content is very useful, but lack of bookmarking and sharing limit its applicability a bit.
- Available for DownloadAndroidiPhoneiPad