What Doctors Want Parents To Know
We asked several Delaware Valley children’s doctors what they’d like to tell every mom and dad about kids’ health. Here’s their advice.
Physicals are a must. “Children should have physicals every year. Physicals at school are nice and help if an exam is needed in less than a year, but should not replace the yearly physical at the pediatrician’s. It is important to take care of your child when he or she is well to help us take care of your child when he or she is sick.” — Darren Franczyk, MD, Francyzk and Storlazzi Pediatrics, Wilmington, DE
Fever is a friend. “Fever is natural and in itself is never harmful or dangerous. Do not fear fever; instead, consider it a signal from nature that something is happening within the body that you may need to explore.” — Auren Weinberg, MD, a pediatrician at Lower Bucks Pediatrics, Yardley , PA
“I wish parents really understood that fever is a normal defense mechanism of the body. The real issue with fever is always: what’s the cause? Treatment of fever is for the purpose of patient comfort.” —Bill Lupatkin, MD, Morristown Pediatrics, NJ
Vaccination is vital. "I wish that parents knew more about the devastating infections caused by vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough, bacterial meningitis and measles. I wish they understood that these infections will return if we stop vaccinating out children.” — Meg Fisher, MD, a pediatric infectious diseases subspecialist at The Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, Long Branch, NJ
“Vaccines don’t cause autism…they save lives.” — Karen Hovav, MD, Center City Pediatrics, Philadelphia
Relax. “I think that parents worry too much in general. I think that they need to just relax, realize that their children are ‘little adults’ and use common sense. I usually tell parents to listen to what everyone tells them and then do what feels right. That is usually the right thing to do for them and their baby. There is no recipe or manual to read to tell a person what to do or how to care for a child, despite what the Internet says or what a book may say.” — Tami Collins, MD, Morristown, NJ
Stages can have wide age ranges. “Milestones in books are only guidelines. What matters is what else the child is doing. Every child has some areas in which he is ahead of average and some areas in which he lag. Typically, achievement or lagging on early milestones has little impact on ultimate developmental outcome.” — Eric Berger, MD, founder of Center City Pediatrics
Go with the flow. “From the moment you are pregnant, you have to be able to go with the flow as a parent because children have a way of messing up your plans. You plan your delivery date, and then the baby comes prematurely or may be 2 weeks late. You have an important meeting at work and your infant throws up on your silk blouse as you walk out the door. You have a busy day scheduled, but your 6-year-old wakes up with sore throat and a fever.
“This is an integral part of parenthood. Your children are not purposefully trying to be inconvenient. Stay home, play Monopoly Jr. and cuddle on the couch with your sick child. Parenthood means your plans may be altered at any minute. Have back up plans and learn to keep breathing. Parenthood is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself.”— Sue Kressly, MD, Kressly Pediatrics, Warrington, PA
Gabrielle Holak is a MetroKids intern and Temple University journalism student.