Gas Prices Slowing Kids' Checkups

Poll: 6% of Parents Say They've Delayed a Child's Medical Visit Due to Gas Costs

By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Louise Chang, MD

Nov. 13, 2007 -- The cost of gas may be putting the brakes on health care for some kids, according to a new poll.

The poll of some 2,000 U.S. adults was conducted online in July and August, before the nation's average gas price passed the $3 per gallon mark.

About two-thirds of the participants were parents.

Among parents, 6% said they have postponed a medical visit for their children or postponed buying medications due to the cost of gas prices in 2007.

"At the national level, these poll findings indicate that more than 4 million children have had a medical visit or medications postponed because of high gas prices," says Matthew Davis, MD, MAPP, in a news release.

Davis directs the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children's Hospital National Poll on Children's Health.

Low-income families and families living far away from children's health care providers were particularly likely to say they'd missed a child's medical visit due to gas costs.

C.S. Mott Children's Hospital says it's contacting gas and oil companies about the possibility of creating gas cards to help families cover gas costs so that kids can get to medical appointments.

No such gas cards exist, and there's no word on whether such cards will be created.

In the poll, nearly two-thirds of all parents and more than 80% of parents earning less than $30,000 per year said they would apply for such a card if it were available.

When asked who should pay for gas cards, gas/oil companies and the government were poll participants' top picks.

Knowledge Networks conducted the poll and weighted the results to reflect the U.S. population figures from the U.S. Census Bureau.

SOURCES: C.S. Mott Children's Hospital: "National Poll on Children's Health," Nov. 12, 2007; vol 2: pp 1-2. News release, University of Michigan.

© 2007 WebMD Inc. All rights reserved.


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