What should you be asking your pediatrician … but you aren’t?

4 questions to ask your kid’s doctor

When you’re a parent, questions come with the territory. Pediatricians are always happy to answer those questions about everything from diaper cream to bedtimes for teenagers. What about those topics your pediatrician wishes you asked about? We asked April R. Mattingly, M.D., pediatrician with Norton Children’s Medical Group – Crestwood, to share some good questions — along with the answers.

  1. How can we encourage independence?

Every phase offers unique ways to let your kids learn and grow. Babies start sleeping by themselves and self-soothing in the crib. Toddlers can help choose their clothing.

“Giving children age-appropriate responsibilities and tasks helps build that self-reliance we want them to develop,” Dr. Mattingly said.
School or extracurricular activities where their adult family members are not involved also help kids build self-reliance independently.

  1. Are we unaware of a safety risk?

You might worry about the choking hazard of hot dogs or the danger of bedding in an infant’s crib, but drowning is the top cause of death in children ages 1 to 4 (other than birth defects). Dr. Mattingly reminds parents that it can happen in as little as 2 inches of water. And swimming pools aren’t the only potential drowning site — be aware of toilets, bathtubs and buckets. Studies suggest that formal swimming lessons might reduce the chance of death by drowning in children ages 1 to 4.

  1. How do we get them to talk to us?

It’s normal for kids to withdraw from their caregivers as they age. This is partially a developmental phase, but caregivers can encourage kids to talk about what’s going on by just listening and empathizing.
“Parents tend to want to jump in and ‘solve’ everything,” Dr. Mattingly said. “It’s more effective to ask them questions and help them make a plan or reframe the issue themselves.”

  1. Why are well-child visits necessary if my kid isn’t sick or due for a vaccine?

If you’re new to parenthood, new to Louisville or just looking for a pediatrician, consider coming out to a Norton Children’s Medical Group Newbie Night.

Learn more

Regular visits to the pediatrician ensure that the child is growing and developing normally. It also helps establish a baseline for everything from heart disease to learning disabilities.

“We can look at patterns over the years and determine if we need to intervene,” Dr. Mattingly said.

Pediatricians are a great resource and sounding board for you when you’re navigating the sometimes-choppy waters of raising children.

“We want to be your partner in this process,” Dr. Mattingly said.