Volume 35

The Regulation of Pediatric Naturopathy and Recommendations for Improvement

by Erin P. Ringel

As naturopathy continues to expand in the United States, issues surrounding its availability and safety have arisen. This Note will focus on a subcategory of naturopathic medicine, pediatric naturopathy, and argue that further regulation is necessary in order to protect patients in this field of care. Part I will introduce pediatric naturopathy by discussing the history of naturopathy, its licensing requirements and availability, and its current principles. This part will also discuss the reasons why one might opt for naturopathic care and explain how naturopathy has become part of pediatric medicine with unique licensing requirements. Part II will explain how the law currently regulates pediatric naturopathy in the areas of licensure, scope of practice, standard of care, and informed consent, and describe the law’s shortcomings. This part will also discuss how problems with informed consent apply specifically to pediatrics. Part III will propose recommendations for statutory reform in the areas of licensure, scope of practice, informed consent, and legal consequences that should follow from violating these statutes. These recommendations will be based on maximizing safety and increasing agency over medical care. This part will also explain how lawyers have a unique obligation to help create this change. Finally, this Note will conclude by restating that pediatric naturopathy is a field deserving of careful regulation, given that children, especially adolescents who are capable of decision-making, are not currently given appropriate agency over their medical decisions.


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