What Your Pediatrician Wishes You Knew

Image Gallery: Staying Healthy Is your daughter running a fever? Has your son's cough lasted more than a week? If you're not sure if your child's condition warrants an office visit, always feel free to call the doctor for guidance. See more pictures of staying healthy.

We tend to think of pediatricians as saints. They went through years of medical school with the aim of serving children and making their lives better. But like professionals in any other line of work, pediatricians have their pet peeves. And often, these issues aren't just minor annoyances -- they're problems that can prevent the doctor from effectively doing his or her job, which is to make sure their youthful patients get the best preventive care and medical treatment available.

So if you were to overhear two pediatricians chatting over coffee, what would they say they wished you -- and all of their other patients -- knew about bringing children to the doctor's office? For starters, they'd probably wish they could ease some of your fears ahead of time. In other words, your child probably isn't infected with a rare superbug you read about in a magazine. They'd also like you to help make their jobs easier -- not because they're looking to dump their responsibilities onto laypeople, but because they think it will help them better diagnose and treat your child.

You may not be a doctor, but you have a major role in making sure your little one receives the best care and treatment possible. So the next time you're getting ready for an appointment with your child's pediatrician, stop to think about the visit from a white-coat perspective. Consider not just what you need to know, but what the doctor needs to know as well. In the following pages, we'll show you how to be both practical and prepared when it comes to your child's health and wellness. Before long, your family pediatrician's secret wish will be that the rest of his or patients were more like you.