|Routine medical appointments, including those
that involve vaccinations or other
should not be traumatic experiences
vast majority of children. If you find
trips to the doctor are troublesome,
- Use a "kid-friendly" doctor.
- Seek pediatricians who truly are child-centered
by speaking to them directly. A doctor who
talks primarily to the parents may foster
feelings of powerlessness and dread in the
- Doctors should be forthcoming and truthful.
Falsely insisting "it won't hurt a bit"
has disastrous consequences in the long run.
The child learns to distrust doctors and
takes away unintended lessons about the importance
- Some kids react adversely to the traditional
white coat; doctors who "dress
may connect with these kids better.
- Doctors who delegate injections to nurses
often are more effective in conducting examinations,
since kids are less apt to shrink from the
doctor as a source of pain.
- Secondly, do your part. A worried or frightened
child might be responding to cues from parents.
Acting or speaking in a nervous or alarmist
way can transfer fears to a child. Pooh-poohing
a child's fears can be just as bad. Refusing
to discuss fears in an honest, direct manner
can lead a child to conclude that the parent
is hiding unpleasant facts.
- If injections are a major problem, consult
with the doctor about means to reduce the
pain associated with injections and other
procedures. For example, transdermal patches
can deliver some medications that normally
would be injected.
- Finally, stress the importance of good health.
Make children aware of the necessity of regular
medical appointments, and announce routine
visits well in advance. Springing a regular
visit upon a child as a last-minute surprise
is more apt to spur anxiety than to stem
it. With vaccinations, doctors and parents
can appeal to children's native altruism.
Let them know that by being vaccinated, they
reduce the possibility that other children
might catch some nasty bug.