NPA Press Release
Parents Say No to the American Academy
of Pediatrics (AAP)
American Journal of Nursing reports
confusion among health professionals, while parents refuse to accept American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines that allow
children in school with lice and nits.
“A year after the American Academy of
Pediatrics (AAP) called on schools to end no-nits policies …
little has changed except the intensity of the debate…”
reported John O’Neil in the September 2, 2003 Science Section
of the New York Times.
The current issue of the
American Journal of Nursing acknowledges the continuing
confusion and controversy over head lice among health care
professionals, -- but there is no debate among parents who do
not want their children infested, unnecessarily at risk of
being infested, or “treated” with pesticides.
families are making their voices heard financially as sales of
pediculicides have declined significantly over the past
several years – 15% in the last year alone.
are better informed and no longer willing to buy more of a
product that failed to work the first time or, more
importantly, could negatively impact the health of their
In 2002, the American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) published guidelines for clinicians that
The New York Times article says AAP's Dr.
Barbara Frankowski, Chairman on School Health, says people get
"hot and bothered" because lice are "yucky."
Z. Altschuler, President of the National Pediculosis
Association (NPA)says, "It is presumptuous and unfair to
expect a public that spends billions of dollars annually on
hair care products, to look the other way when someone they
are with, or they themselves are infested with lice."
Many are disappointed and perplexed by AAP's
abandonment of traditional communicable disease prevention
measures, and the fact that AAP recommends potentially harmful
treatments known to be ineffective because of
For these and other reasons, their guidelines have
become suspect and a source of controversy among health
However there is no confusion for the
true experts -– the parents -- who were first to identify and
report lice resistance in the mid-'90s and the first to unite
against the AAP Guidelines. Parents apparently know and want
So does John Smithkey, RN, BSN, a school nurse
in Canton, Ohio who disagrees with the AAP’s position against
screening in school for lice and nits. Smithkey says that
school nurses screen for many important health issues and do
it effectively without disruption.
He states: “It is
the most economical and effective way to both find cases of
head lice as well as teach parents and students about this age
old health problem in a positive way.”
Weathersbee of Sebastian, Florida was outraged when her school
district dropped their No Nit Policy as a result of the AAP
She united local parents and demanded
that the school committee rescind the change. Their
grass-roots effort was successful with other communities
following the lead.
In a recent poll by a midwest NBC
television affiliate, over 85% of the parents responded that
children should not be allowed in school with lice and
September 2003 marks the 19th Annual
Back-to-School Head Lice Prevention Campaign. Sponsored by the
National Pediculosis Association, a non profit organization,
the campaign is also known as the “All Out Comb Out” which
kicks off each school year with education and awareness in
advance of outbreaks.
Being informed along with enabled
to accomplish routine screening, early detection and manual
removal of lice and nits continues to be the best defense
against head lice.
Reliance upon ineffective or
potentially harmful products keeps children infested, and
forces communities into a crisis mentality.
person brings unique
health risks to the treatment decision.
The NPA knows of no chemical agent, natural or otherwise that
is 100% safe as well as effective against both lice and their
eggs. This makes thorough lice and nit removal crucial for
effective lice control.
Until independent scientific
research documents a safe and effective chemical agent for
head lice treatment, the NPA will continue to recommend its
Visit the NPA’s website
www.headlice.org to find how you can participate in the “All
Out Comb Out” as well as find the NPA’s No Nit Policy,
Jesse’s Project and educational and easy-to-download
information helpful for parents and health professionals
“Because it’s not about lice, it’s about
Press Releases From The NPA