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PE DIATRIC S Five Tips for Getting the Most from Your Child’s Visit to the Doctor Whether you are taking your child to the pediatrician for a well-care visit or for other concerns, this advice from UCLA doctors will help the appointment go smoothly. Write down your questions. Be smart about scheduling. It’s easy to forget things when you’re dealing with a squirming child who isn’t keen on being examined. It helps to list your questions in order of priority, says Carlos Lerner, MD, a UCLA pediatrician in Westwood. “Bring up your most pressing concerns at the start of the appointment to ensure you get the answers you need,” he says. This also is a good time to mention any changes in your family that may affect your child’s well-being, such as a parental illness or separation. You’re more likely to get in and out on time when your appointment takes place at a relatively calm time, such as first thing in the morning or immediately after the lunch break. It’s also a good idea to plan around your child’s naptime and meals. “I remind parents to budget enough time for the appointment, so they don’t feel rushed or panicked about having to be somewhere else,” says Dennis Woo, MD, a UCLA pediatrician in Santa Monica. Document your child’s symptoms. Prep for the visit. Pictures or videos of your child’s rash, behavioral changes or other problems often can help your doctor make a diagnosis. Heide Woo, MD, a UCLA pediatrician in West Los Angeles, also recommends keeping a diary of your child’s symptoms. “Note things like changes in temperature, sleep, behavior and appetite,” Dr. Woo says. If your child gets anxious at the doctor’s office, try easing those worries by reading books at home about doctors and playing with toy medical kits. Be honest with your child about vaccinations. Don’t tell your child he or she won’t be getting a shot if you know that’s not true. Some pediatricians like Dr. Heide Woo prefer to give shots to Carlos Lerner, MD Heide Woo, MD LAW an anxious child at the start of the appointment. “Kids tend to remember the last thing that happens during an exam,” she explains. “I want that memory to be a positive one.” Talk to your doctor about the best timing for your child. Take advantage of technology. Depending on what’s bothering your child, you might be able to avoid an office visit altogether. Most offices offer phone or e-mail consultations which may be covered by insurance. E-mail correspondence is available via my.UCLAhealth.org, UCLA Health’s online medical-records tool. To find a UCLA pediatrician or adolescent specialist near you, visit: uclahealth.org/mattel/ outpatient-locations Dennis Woo, MD Vital Signs Spring 2017 Vol. 74 3