For Parents and Children

Children are not little adults, yet they are often given medicines and treatments that were only tested in adults. There is a lot of evidence that children’s developing brains and bodies can respond to medicines and treatments differently than how adults respond. The way to get the best treatments for children is through research designed specifically for them.

We have already made great strides in improving children's health outcomes through clinical research. Vaccines, treatments for children with cancer, and interventions for premature babies are just a few examples of how this targeted research can be helpful. However, there are still many questions to answer and more children waiting to benefit.

Should your child participate in a clinical study?

We understand that parents and caregivers have many questions when they are considering enrolling a child in a clinical study, and that children and adolescents also want to know what they will go through. The NIH remains committed to ensuring that families trying to decide whether to enroll their child in a clinical study get all the information they need to feel comfortable and make informed decisions. The safety of children remains the utmost priority for all NIH research studies.


The following resources provide information on why clinical studies are important, how children might benefit from participation, and what you should think about before, during, and after joining a study.

Kids in Research

Healthy children can help find cures for different diseases and conditions by participating in research studies at the NIH Clinical Center. Visit this website to learn more.

The Children’s Inn at NIH

The NIH Children’s Inn is a residential “place like home” for sick children and their families who are participating in medical research at the NIH Clinical Center.

Children and Clinical Studies: For Parents and Caregivers

In this video, pediatric clinician-researchers, doctors, and nurses talk about the importance of conducting clinical trials for children while addressing common questions.

Children and Clinical Studies Facebook page

Join the discussion about children and clinical studies by posting a comment, sharing a story, or starting a conversation on the Children and Clinical Studies Facebook page.

This page last reviewed on June 6, 2023