When you're a parent, especially a first-time parent, it's easy to worry over almost any sign that something might be wrong with your child. It's human nature to worry. Over at Parents.com they have some advice from a pediatrician who wishes parents would avoid some common mistakes.
1. Stop looking to the internet for medical advice
When you're freaked out about your child's symptoms, the first place to turn is usually Dr. Google. And while trusted sites like the American Academy of Pediatrics can have useful info, it's still impossible to diagnose your kid over the internet. Instead, take your concerns to your doctor. “I've been given websites to look up because a parent is pretty sure their child has X, Y, or Z disease,” Dr. Bush says. “I'm always happy to look and get back to them, but a diagnosis is based on our medical evaluation.”
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But the internet can help us justify that we're right and know exactly what our child has. Or it can allow us to assume the worst; the high temperature is a sign of a grave medical condition.
2. Stop going to the ER for everything
I'm guilty of this one. Recently my 3-year-old ran head-first into the fridge, and after blood started coming out of his nose and mouth, I rushed him to the ER without waiting for a call back from his doctor. Four hours and a $900 bill later, he was pronounced totally fine. “Except for extreme emergencies, getting a phone call in to your physician's office gives time for the child to calm and the family to make assessments, and for us to determine if there's an alternative place we can have you seen,” Dr. Bush says. An urgent care facility or the pediatrician's office the next day may be better options.
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This can be a tough one as everyone gets emotional when their is trauma from an accident. However, in most cases, waiting a few hours is just fine and the gravity of the situation may not be as serious as first believed.
4. Stop refusing vaccinations and demanding alternative vaccine schedules
Ironically, just as some parents rush to medicine, others are scared by vaccines. Even if parents agree vaccines are a good thing, they're concerned about giving many at the same time. “Very solid evidence exists that immunizations prevent many deadly and debilitating childhood diseases,” Dr. Bush says. “The FDA requires any new combination of vaccines to prove equal effectiveness as if they were given on separate dates so we're not overwhelming the immune system.” The problem with delaying vaccines, especially with babies, is children then go unprotected for longer. “When you start spreading them out, you put more kids at risk,” he says.
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Hard to argue with that.
5. Stop allowing unlimited screen time
Let's face it: Screens are a part of our lives now, which the AAP recognized when they relaxed their rules around screen time. But even so, Dr. Bush says to make sure your kids have outdoor play for exercise, and face-to-face interaction for social development. “Life's about interacting with other people, so encourage children to play with their friends in person instead of texting or playing video games online,” he says.
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Parents need to lead the way here. Otherwise, we are just hypocrites.
9. Stop freaking out about your child's temperature
It can be alarming when your child develops a fever, but once they are out of the newborn stage when it may be dangerous, it's just something else to report to your doctor. “It's a symptom like a runny nose, cough, or pain, part of the collection of information that helps us make decisions on what's the appropriate diagnosis and treatment,” Dr. Bush says. “It's very rare that a fever alarms us.”
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We are constantly exposes to germs. Our bodies are continually fighting them off. A fever, in and off itself, is just a sign the body is working properly to fight something off.
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