5 things your pediatrician wishes you knew

Have you ever wondered what your pediatrician is really thinking? While I can’t speak for all pediatricians, I can tell you that many of us share similar thoughts when it comes to our patients and their families. We love the children and cherish our relationship with parents just as much as the children. So here are a few things your pediatrician might like you to know. And some may surprise you.

  • When we ask you to finish the entire course of antibiotics, we really do mean it. Nothing bothers us more than to prescribe an antibiotic for your child’s ear infection only to have your child return 2 weeks later with another infection…solely because you stopped the antibiotics just a few days into the course. It is true that your little guy or girl will probably be feeling better within 48 hours after starting the medicine, but studies show that it takes the full 10 days to kill off all those germs that made your child sick in the first place.
  • Speaking of antibiotics…it’s never ok to start your leftover antibiotics on your own. There are a couple reasons for this. First of all, only your doctor can tell if your child truly has a bacterial infection requiring an antibiotic. Also, if you decide on your own to give a dose or two, then find out that it is a viral infection that is not even treated with antibiotics, you are increasing the chances that your child could develop antibiotic resistance in the future when he really needs one.
  • There is no need to bring your child into the office if they vomited only once, or sneezed only once, or complained of a sore throat only once. Give them a little time to see if things are going to worsen, or just clear up on their own. A child who is just beginning to show signs of illness will not likely be far enough into it to determine if he needs any intervention yet. So in other words, your vomiting child will not have had time to get dehydrated, or your congested child will not have had enough time to develop the ear infection. Of course if your child just doesn’t look right to you, then by all means bring him in right away!
  • Sometimes we suggest things for you to do even if there isn’t great scientific evidence behind it. It’s true. We tell you to try the gas drops for colic or the humidifier for stuffiness, but in reality we know that these interventions may or may not work well. But we also know how helpless you feel when your child is sick or hurting, and we know that you will want to try everything in your power to make your little one feel better.
  • We really really love what we do. We did not go into pediatrics for the glamour… there is nothing glamorous about snotty noses, croupy coughs, and diaper rashes. But we see beyond the mundane and know that we are touching the lives of these precious little ones. And just as importantly, we are touching your life by helping you be the best parent you can be. So if our office staff is rude to you or our nurse forgets to call with your lab results, give us a little grace. Let us know when we mess up, but remember that we have your child’s best interest at heart. Always.

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About Dr. Kristie Rivers, Bundoo Pediatrician

Kristie Rivers, MD, FAAP, is a Bundoo Pediatrician who practices in South Florida.


  1. I am really surprised that parents will actually stop giving their child an antibiotic before the amount of time for taking it is over. They should know that this will most likely cause the infection to come back. Why risk this? Also, the times we have been prescribed antibiotics we usually have no leftovers. I thought pharmacies did this for every family so that parents don’t give more than the amount prescribed or try to give it at a later time.


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