13+ Things Your Child’s Paediatrician Won’t Tell You
Get faster, better treatment for your child, and improve their next visit to the doctor’s office with these simple, practical tips.
1. Want to Avoid Wait Time?
Your best bet is to schedule your appointment for the middle of the week. Ask for the first time slot of the morning or right after lunch.
2. Sometimes, I Prescribe Antibiotics When I Shouldn’t
Even though studies show that antibiotics for ear infections are rarely better than watching and waiting for kids over age two, many of us prescribe them anyway. We want to feel like we’re doing something. If I prescribe an antibiotic and a few days later your child feels better, I look like a genius.
3. There’s a Better Solution than ‘This Won’t Hurt’
Want to make vaccines less painful for your child? Ask if you can breast-feed while we give your infant his shots. If you have an older child, see if we can use cold spray or a numbing cream to decrease the pain.
4. Don’t Try to Sneak in a Second Evaluation
Don’t ask if I’ll take a “quick look” at the sibling who doesn’t have an appointment. If your mom went with you to the gynecologist, would you ever say, “Doc, would you mind putting her on the table and giving her a quick look?” Didn’t think so. Every patient deserves a full evaluation.
5. Arrive Prepared
We sometimes have less than ten minutes per patient, so make the most of your time and ask about the most pressing problems first. If you have a lot of questions, request an extra-long appointment.
6. Do as I Say, Not as I Do
Even though I tell you to let your baby cry himself back to sleep once he’s older, don’t ask me if I always followed that advice with my own kids. I didn’t.
7. Don’t Give Up Too Easily
If you have an urgent concern and the front desk tells you there are no appointments available, ask for a nurse and explain your situation. Often she can work you in even if the schedule indicates there’s no time.
8. Don’t Delay Treating your Child
Parents often do because they want me to see the symptoms. “I didn’t give him Tylenol, because I wanted you to feel the fever.” “I didn’t use the nebulizer, because I wanted you to hear the wheezing.” Trust me, I will believe you that the child had a fever or was wheezing. Delaying the treatment only makes your child suffer.
9. Good Luck Avoiding Germs in My Waiting Room
Sure, we have a “sick” waiting room and a “well” waiting room, but no studies show it really makes a difference. Germs are everywhere, and we can’t disinfect after each patient. My advice? Bring your own toys, and if your child touches anything, give him a hit of hand sanitizer.
10. Don’t Use Me to Discipline Your Child
For example, telling your kid the doctor will give him a shot if he doesn’t behave. I won’t.
11. Why Did We Choose Paediatrics?
We’re among the lowest-paid doctors, making half as much as many surgical specialists. We get pooped, peed, and thrown up on – and worse. But we love helping kids, and that’s why we do it.
(Photo: iStockphoto/Thinkstock )
12. Google Search Doesn’t Make You a Doctor
If you want to do a little Internet research in advance, go for it. But please don’t use a website to diagnose your kids and come in asking for a specific remedy.
13. Respect My Boundaries
Don’t ask me medical questions about your child when you see me at the grocery store, pool, or library. When I’m out with my kids, I just want to be a mom.
14. Call First. You Could Save Us Both Time
Most visits to the pediatrician, particularly for older children, are unnecessary. It may only take a phone call to find out that your child’s fever, cold, sore throat, ear infection, and even pink eye will most likely get better on its own.
15. Don’t Believe the Conspiracies
Do you really believe that we’d be recommending vaccines if we had any concerns about their safety? Almost all paediatricians immunize their own children.
16. Fresh Cookies Open a Lot of Doors
Have a last-minute form for summer camp you need us to fill out? Show up with a smile and some homemade cookies, and we will get it done. I can name two patients off the top of my head who always bring baked goods, and everyone in the office knows and loves them.
(Photo: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Thinkstock )
17. Drug Prices? Not My Department
We often have no idea what a particular medicine costs. If your jaw drops at the price the pharmacy gives you, call us back and see if we can prescribe something else.
18. Stop Checking Your Smartphone
When I’m talking to your child, I need you to pay attention. He is not going to tell me everything I need to know.
19. Read the Label, Especially With Children
When you tell me you gave a decongestant to your toddler, I cringe. Studies show that cold medicines never work well for children under age six, and the risk of overdose and side effects far outweigh any benefit.
20. Listen to Your Intuition
You know your child better than anyone, and that’s why when you tell me something “isn’t right,” my ears perk up.