It's incredible how far medical science has come in the past 10 years. It wasn't that long ago that pediatricians were shrugging off bicycle helmets, unlimited screen time, and sugar-packed soda. Hard-to-believe, right? Kids may complain about over-protective parents but it's their health that matters more than anything. If safety means listening to grunts and sighs, then so be it, it's all worth it.
These days, pediatricians are buckling down on unnecessary prescriptions for antibiotics, routine check-ups for healthy toddlers, and the counterintuitive effects of Q-tips. The problem is that thanks to the internet, everyone thinks they're a medical expert. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a diagnosis. But which one is the right one? A quick Google search of symptoms can either provide peace of mind or total confusion. It's no wonder pediatricians are now urging clients to stay off the internet.
Of course, there are still those parents who choose to go against the medical grain. Pediatricians could preach the benefits of vaccinations until they're blue in the face -- but will their advice fall on deaf ears? The same goes for co-sleeping. Pediatricians have no idea what goes on behind closed doors at home. The best they can do is provide professional advice.
20 The Common Cold Needs Medication
Pediatricians are well aware that colds can be miserable and uncomfortable for children -- but that doesn't always mean medication is the best course of action.
A mother's ears may perk up with the pediatrician mentions heavily medical terms like "viral upper-respiratory infection" and "purulent rhinitis." Rest assured that these are just fancy ways of describing the common cold, as Parents.com explains. These days, pediatricians recommend waiting between 7 - 10 days before requesting medication. The cold may just be gone within that time. But just because medication may be unnecessary doesn't mean moms should shy away from making a check-up appointment just to make sure there are no underlying issues.
19 A Rise In Temperature Is Unsafe
A big medical revelation regarding fevers has been made in the last decade. Pediatricians once believed that a rise in temperature due to a fever (anything over 105 Fareinheit) could lead to effects on the brain. Mothers in the 90s frequently experienced "fever phobia," but the truth is, there is no magic number at which a temperature becomes too high. The one exception is in newborns. If a baby is three months or younger and has a temperature over 100, it could be more serious. For toddlers, though, a pediatrician will tell mothers to keep calm, and most importantly, keep the child hydrated.
18 Consult The Internet For A Diagnosis
As great as the internet is for fast answers and information, not all of it is correct.
Nine times out of ten, whatever symptoms you type into Google will lead to something much worse than it actually is.
For example, if you researched breast tenderness, you could either come across an article about the menstrual cycle and period symptoms or an article about cancer.
So which is it? Pediatricians are now begging their clients to stay off the internet for a medical diagnosis and book an appointment instead. Yes, it takes a little more effort to go there in person but it's better than reading false claims.
17 What's The Harm In Unlimited Screen Time?
Because screens are such a fundamental part of our lives, the American Academy of Pediatricians has relaxed their rules on kids watching TV and played Xbox. Still, Dr. Bush recommends parents monitor and keep track of how many hours their children spend with screen time.
"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."
While we couldn't agree more, the statement that too much TV can cause serious, permanent eye damage is a myth, according to RNIB. Instead, you may experience a slight headache and eye strain.
16 Vaccinations Are The Only Solution
Vaccinations are a sensitive topic. In the 90s, concerned parents didn't even blink when accepting vaccinations from their pediatrician. But a new wave of modern parents is now questioning whether this method is effective and necessary. As she explained on her Instagram, pregnant tattoo artist Kat Von D made headlines when she announced she isn't planning on vaccinating her baby.
"Very solid evidence exists that immunizations prevent many [fatal] and debilitating childhood diseases," continued Dr. Bush. "The FDA requires any new combination of vaccines to prove equal effectiveness as if they were given on separate dates so we're not [overtasking] the immune system."
To each their own, we guess.
15 Healthy Kids Don't Need A Check-Up
Nope. Wrong again. Pediatricians love seeing healthy patients and maintaining their "well care" instead of their "sick care." When healthy kids come in, it's easier for pediatricians to help them stay that way through prevention. This includes hearing and vision problems, heart murmurs, blood pressure elevations, and scoliosis, which relates to stunted growth and spinal problems in children. Pediatricians encourage parents to continuously make appointments for one other major reason: to form a better and more comfortable bond between medical professional and caregiver.
Trust is an important part of accepting a diagnosis. If parents are iffy about their pediatrician, they might not listen.
14 Request Antibiotics For, Well, Anything
Antibiotics are serious medications meant only for the worst of the worst illnesses. Toddlers and babies usually don't have a strong enough immune system to handle antibiotics, so please, save them for emergencies.
"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 see with viral illnesses, it's not," Dr. Bush told Parents.com. "Colds and coughs don't need an antibiotic, they just need time to heal." Additionally, handing out antibiotics too often can lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is even harder to fight off than the original illness.
13 Q-Tips Are The Secret To Clean Ears
How can something that feels so good be so bad? Well, that actually counts for a lot of things -- not just Q-tips. It can feel so soothing to use a Q-tip after a hot shower. But according to medical experts, the only thing a Q-tip does it push the wax further into your ears. "Kids will come in sometimes with ear pain or decreased hearing because their ears are just so packed with wax from the Q-tip not bringing it out, but pushing it back."
So, what's the proper way to clean your ears? Dr. Bush says the smallest drops of water can naturally push the wax out.
12 What's The Harm In Co-Sleeping?
This next one is a touchy subject simply because it's so polarizing. We totally understand that sleeping with the baby can strengthen bonds and provide comfort, but according to Dr. Jamie Kondis, a pediatrician at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, co-sleeping is not the safest decision.
“We see babies here at our hospital every month [pass away] from unsafe sleep." If mothers need a reminder to sleep in their own individual bed, just follow the ABCs. "The baby should be alone – the A; B – on their back; and C – in a crib." Just something to keep in mind!
11 All Carseat Positions Are Created Equal
It's part of a pediatrician's job to ensure car seats are properly installed before parents leave the hospital with a newborn. Many hospitals will take the lead here, as well as organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. They provide guidance on car seat safety. Kids need to be in a rear-facing car seat, in the back seat, until at least age two.
Here's why: let's say there's an accident and the kid is facing the front windshield. There's a chance its car seat could smash through the window. We don't have to tell you that this would be a traumatic experience for any parent.
10 Eating For Two Is Healthy
We've all heard the saying "eating for two." But sometimes, pregnant women take it a little too literally. Expectant mothers should not double their calorie intake. According to Baby Center, "The Institute of Medicine says if you're a healthy weight, you need no additional calories in the first trimester, 340 extra calories a day in the second trimester, and about 450 extra calories a day in the third trimester." These numbers are not an exact science but more of a general outline.
"It takes only a couple of glasses of low-fat milk and a handful of sunflower seeds or a tuna sandwich to add enough calories for that last trimester."
9 Outside Is Where The Germs Are
Inside, good. Outside, bad. That used to be the motto of every sick child's parents in the 90s.
The belief that germs only exist outside has disappeared in the world of pediatricians. Hello, germs are everywhere. Literally everywhere. Kids are notorious grabbers who will touch anything and everything out of curiosity. Then they'll touch their eyes, ears, and nose. This is how many common colds happen. It has nothing to do with going outside. "We see much more spread of illnesses in the wintertime when kids are all condensed into one small area for the entire school day."
You tell 'em, Dr. Bush!
8 Don't Call Outside Working Hours
Wouldn't it be great if we could press pause on illnesses? "Sorry, whooping cough, I have a presentation tomorrow and need to my voice to be clear. Wait until tomorrow to come at me."
Obviously, it doesn't work that way. Pediatricians in the 90s once urged their clients to call only within working hours -- the 9-5 window. Anything after or before needs to wait. Tell that fever to wait. Tell that nausea to wait. Thank goodness pediatricians have changed their outlook to accept phone calls from worried parents around the clock. They acknowledge that being woken up at three in the morning is part of their job.
7 Turn To Family Members And Friends For Advice
Unless your friends and family have your child's medical history memorized, they won't be able to help. Getting advice from anyone other than a medical expert can lead to more stress.
It's like when you break up with a significant other. One friend tells you to ignore their texts, another friend tells you to hear them out.
Too many opinions can often cloud our judgment to the point where we're too confused to move or even think straight. Put all that noise to bed by visiting the one person who knows your child's medical history inside and out: the pediatrician.
6 There's Always A Solution
This may be a bitter truth to swallow but here it is: pediatricians don't always have an answer -- or the right answer. Take it from Sara DuMond, MD, who said,
"With many cases of fever, rash, and other common childhood conditions, we're not able to pinpoint an exact cause."
Good luck telling a parent that without raising hell. On the bright side, a pediatrician might be able to pinpoint what it isn't, rather than what it is. Does that make sense? An exam can rule out an illness or two to narrow down to possibilities. From there they may prescribe medicine.
5 Helmets Are Overrated
According to US Health, more than 2.2 million children between the ages of 5 and 17 were treated in US emergency rooms for bicycle-related injuries from 2006 to 2015. That's an average of over 600 kids a day. "It’s because they’re not wearing a helmet,” says Kondis, an assistant professor of pediatric emergency medicine at Washington University in St. Louis. Parents and medical professionals in the 90s were much more lax about kids wearing a helmet and protective gear on bikes, scooters, skateboards, snowboards, and so on. Children may protest wearing one -- we've heard it all the time -- "Mooooom, come on, I'll be fine."
4 Go Ahead And Drink All That Sugar
Here's a trick question: what's the difference between eating and drinking calories? Spoiler alert -- there is no difference!
Consuming sugar through soda or a chocolate bar has the exact same outcome. For kids, though, it's especially bad. High levels of sugar can increase one's resistance to insulin, which is responsible for proper brain functioning through sugar control. Extreme levels of sugar in children can interfere with neurotransmitters responsible for keeping moods stable. That could explain why kids act so hyper when sugar is involved. To them, it's like an adult partying excessively. It makes them act and behave differently.
3 It Doesn't Matter Where Parents Store Medication
The "out of sight, out of mind" mantra doesn't work for medication. It's not enough for parents to keep a lid on medications and leave it on the counter. “Little kids can open more medications than parents realize,” Kondis says. “We see a lot of ingestions from that.” With their small fingers and small bodies, babies can squeeze into the tiniest of spaces. Not to mention they love picking things up from the floor and putting it in their mouth. Needless to say, parents should always double check the floor to make sure they didn't drop anything, even if it's an Advil.
2 Seasonal Health? Never Heard Of It
As the seasons change, so does medical advice from pediatricians. There are certain precautions children should take in the summer that aren't as prevalent in the winter -- things like sunscreen. “We see a lot of kids that come in with sunburns,” says DeBlasio, an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati.
Sunscreen isn't just a beach thing, either. It should be applied whenever a kid is going outside: the park, the school playground, the front lawn, etc. “Any kid six months and above should have sunscreen." A general rule for babies is they should generally be kept out of the sun and wear protective clothing.
1 More Is More When It Comes To Medicine
One may think that doubling down on medication makes the illness goes away twice as fast. When in fact, blindly mixing medication can make patients even sicker.
Consider the "less is more" saying when providing relief for children. For something like a cold or fever, "it’s easier for the provider to kind of just cave in and either write a prescription for an unnecessary antibiotic or offer them over-the-counter cold and cough medicines." When in reality, “neither one of them will really work."
Sometimes no medication whatsoever is the key to getting better. Remember, each medicine comes with its own set of side effects.