1. Kids have figured out that “This won’t hurt” is code for “This is going to hurt,” and they get all worked up. It’s really best to not even use the word hurt. It just creates anxiety.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. If I prescribe a newer, more expensive medication, it may be because a drug rep just left my office. They constantly bring us presents and flatter us, and their only goal is getting us to prescribe the latest medication, which is usually no better than the older ones. In fact, the older ones have a longer safety track record and really should be the ones we prescribe first.
5. 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.
6. Do you really believe that we’d be recommending vaccines if we had any concerns about their safety? Almost all pediatricians immunize their own children.
7. Yes, you can talk to your pediatrician on the phone. Be persistent, be polite, and explain to the staff that you have a pressing, personal issue that you think would be best handled over the phone. We’ll call back as soon as we can.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. Stop typing on your smart phone! 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
Sources: Pediatricians David L. Hill, MD, in Wilmington, North Carolina; Robert Lindeman, MD, in Framingham, Massachusetts; Allison Fabian, DO, in Grand Rapids, Michigan; Amanda Moran, MD, in Charlotte, North Carolina; Roy Benaroch, MD, author of A Guide to Getting the Best Healthcare for Your Child; and a pediatrician in Virginia who preferred not to be named.