Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Checklist for Worried Parents

I have two young sons and I am often grateful that we live within minutes of a major children's medical center. Being fairly laid-back parents, the only big rule my husband and I have in our house is simply "no trips to Children's Mercy." My kids have learned how much this rule encompasses. For example, it requires that they wear their bike helmets even when just riding around our driveway and that they limit their experiments in zero gravity to jumping from the third step up from the basement and not the ninth. I don't really care if they leave their toys out or if they don't finish all their dinner, I just don't want anyone getting a concussion. While we've had a few minor bumps and bruises, and one case of a dislocated elbow, this rule has helped us avoid major injury and dismemberment.

One thing I worry about is that our house rule doesn't really help my kids avoid major illnesses. We wash our hands, but I often wonder when a fever is something serious and when it's just the immune system just doing it's job well. Or if that recurring cough could be a sign of pneumonia. Our friends at Consumer Reports have come up with a list for worried parents that will help me, and hopefully you, too, know when a kid needs to see a doctor ASAP.

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