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Recruiting for pediatric trials: How is it different?

A client recently asked us, “How does your approach to recruiting for pediatric trials differ from recruiting for adult trials?” What a great question!

In a lot of ways, our approach is the same: Talk to potential participants like they are real people going through real things (because they are, of course). Show empathy. Present the ways the trial may be able to help. And make the communication something parents and children will pay attention to. That said, there are some differences to consider when recruiting for pediatric trials.

Talk to mom.

Research shows that, when it comes to medical-related decisions for children, mothers are more likely to call the shots. So when recruiting for pediatric trials, it’s important to remember that you’re most likely talking to mom. This knowledge often informs our copy, imagery, and even media decisions.


The more information, the better. For many parents, making a medical-related decision on behalf of their child is harder than making it for themselves. Ensuring parents are well informed from the get-go is crucial. For many pediatric trials, we create additional pieces of communication that help guide parents through the pros and cons of participating in the trial and address concerns that are unique to pediatric populations.

Reassure them.

“But is it safe?” We’ve found that there is a much higher concern for the safety of the trial when recruiting for pediatric populations. Parents want to know exactly what the risks are and what happens if they change their mind about participation. Therefore, when recruiting for pediatric trials, it’s important to clearly communicate from the start and inform parents and children of the safety guidelines and the ability to opt out. If this information is not clear or easy to find, many parents will assume the worst and be less likely to have their child participate.

Interested in learning more? Check out some of our pediatric trial work here.