One pediatrician tells us the truth about the things doctors wish parents would stop doing, now.
Parenting doesn’t come with a handbook, so unsuspecting moms and dads are left to figure out a lot on their own. Our go-to sources of advice—friends, the internet, our own parents—might not have the most reliable, up-to-date info. Then when we get to the pediatrician’s office, we’re either too stressed, rushed, or embarrassed to ask our questions. Doctors are great at telling you what to do, but even they might be hesitant to be upfront with parents about what not to do. So we asked Bill Bush, M.D., pediatrician-in-chief at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to give us the truth about the things parents should stop doing, now.
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.”
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.
3. Stop requesting antibiotics
It’s natural to want our kids to get better as soon as possible, but Dr. Bush says antibiotics aren’t always the answer. “There are times when it’s absolutely appropriate to give the antibiotic when they have a bacterial infection, but for the majority of the patients we…