Essay:A review of statements made by the American College of Pediatricians

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This essay seeks to review the statements made by the American College of Pediatricians (ACPeds), a group of pediatricians that is critical of the mainstream medical consensus on politically contentious medical issues, described by its founder as an organization aligned with "Judeo-Christian, traditional values."[1] Some scientists have accused ACPeds of misusing their studies.[2] The Southern Poverty Law Center designates ACPeds as a hate group, claiming that it uses shoddy science, with many scientists cited by the ACPeds criticizing it for misrepresenting their work.[1] Although its institutional-sounding name might cause some to think it is a mainstream medical organization, and conservative media outlets sometimes cite it as if it were the leading pediatrics organization, it in fact has far fewer members than the American Association of Pediatrics.[1]

This is not a peer-reviewed essay and its author has no medical training. It focuses on reviewing whether ACPeds' statements appropriately characterize the sources and scientists they cite; this essay does not give medical advice. (See RationalWiki:General disclaimer)

This essay uses the fact/spin/falsehoods/errors division used by FairMormon rather than the truth meter of PolitiFact because the labels have a clearer meaning. It also has an additional label for opinions.

2018 Press Release on Corporal Punishment[edit]

In 2018, ACPeds made a press release[3] criticizing the mainstream AAP's new policy paper "Effective Discipline to Raise Healthy Children", which urges parents to avoid using physical punishment.[4] It makes the following claims.

Criticisms relating to the style, organization, and purpose of the AAP policy paper[edit]

  • The new AAP policy "almost exclusively emphasizes what NOT [sic] to do (don’t ever spank) with little about how parents should respond to persistent misbehavior, especially when milder disciplinary measures haven’t worked, replacing the original "far more comprehensive policy", "Guidance for Effective Discipline".[3]:1
  • Fact: this is true. The AAP paper has some guidance on how to educate parents about alternative parenting methods in the section "Strategies for Promoting Effective Discipline", but it does not focus on what they exactly are.[4] However, this may not be so bad because it is an update to policies and guidance for pediatricians rather than a complete informational pamphlet for parents. The AAP states that "This policy is a revision of the policy in 101(4):723", which is the "far more comprehensive policy" that ACPeds is referring to.[4] It is possible that the policy paper was meant to update the parts of the more comprehensive policy that deal with corporal punishment and was not intended to be a full policy on its own.
  • The new AAP policy is a "rant against spanking" and a "diatribe against all spanking".
  • Opinion: this appears to be a subjective evaluation of the tone of the AAP policy report. The tone of a document can give hints as to whether its author is objective and reliable, but it should not be overemphasized.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "American College of Pediatricians". Southern Poverty Law Center. 
  2. Pinto, Nick (May 26, 2010). "University of Minnesota professor's research hijacked (Archived)". City Pages. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Spanking: A Valid Option for Parents". American College of Pediatricians. November 7, 2018. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Sege, Robert D.; Sieger, Benjamin S. (December 2018). "Effective Discipline to Raise Healthy Children". Pediatrics 142 (6).