Why Does Your Kid’s Doctor Do That?

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    Question 1/9

    Why does the doctor dangle a toy in front of your baby?

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    Answer 1/9

    Why does the doctor dangle a toy in front of your baby?

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    The eye chart your doc uses on you won’t work for babies since they can’t read. But your pediatrician can check your child’s sight in other ways. By using a toy or a light to get her attention, your doctor can test how well her eyes follow an object. This also shows the doctor how far away your baby can see. There’s no need for more tests unless your doctor suspects a problem.

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    Question 2/9

    A pediatrician asks about the milk your toddler drinks because they want to know if:

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    Answer 2/9

    A pediatrician asks about the milk your toddler drinks because they want to know if:

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    Babies under 12 months should drink only breast milk or formula. At 1 year, they can switch to milk -- and whole is best for most kids. Your little one is doing a lot of growing between age 1 and 2. She needs the fat in whole milk to build a healthy brain and nervous system. After age 2, she can switch to low-fat.

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    Question 3/9

    Your pediatrician wants to know when your home was built.

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    Answer 3/9

    Your pediatrician wants to know when your home was built.

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    What the doctor is looking for: exposure to lead. It’s poisonous, but before 1978, it was a common paint ingredient. If your house was built before then, there’s a higher chance your little explorer could get it in her mouth or breathe in lead dust. The doctor can do a blood test to check for lead levels.

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    Question 4/9

    Why do doctors measure your child’s height and weight at every visit?

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    Answer 4/9

    Why do doctors measure your child’s height and weight at every visit?

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    Every kid is different, but there are “norms” that help the doctor see how your child is growing and developing. He takes your child’s stats and puts them in a growth chart to keep track of patterns. If she seems way off from the average, or if her patterns change suddenly, it can alert your doctor to a problem.

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    Question 5/9

    The doctor wants to know if your child points at things or smiles when you do. Why?

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    Answer 5/9

    The doctor wants to know if your child points at things or smiles when you do. Why?

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    Problems with these behaviors could be early signs of autism. The American Academy of Pediatrics says every child should have a screening test for the condition starting at the 18-month checkup. The office will give you a questionnaire to fill out, and also watch how your toddler interacts with others.

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    Question 6/9

    When does your doctor start tracking your child’s body mass index (BMI)?

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    Answer 6/9

    When does your doctor start tracking your child’s body mass index (BMI)?

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    Doctors use your child’s height and weight to calculate her BMI starting at age 2. With this number, your doctor can track how your child’s weight changes over time. If she’s moving toward an unhealthy BMI, your doctor can let you know the best ways to keep her in the healthy range.

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    Question 7/9

    Why does the doctor hit your child’s knees with a rubber hammer?

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    Answer 7/9

    Why does the doctor hit your child’s knees with a rubber hammer?

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    There’s a good reason the doc whacks your little one: He's checking to be sure her brain is talking to the rest of her body. The “knee-jerk” reflex that happens when he taps part of her knee shows him that her nervous system is working the way it should.

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    Question 8/9

    The doctor hears a heart murmur through the stethoscope. It’s a bigger worry when your child is:

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    Answer 8/9

    The doctor hears a heart murmur through the stethoscope. It’s a bigger worry when your child is:

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    Hearing soft "musical" noises between heartbeats for kids from ages 1 to 5 is usually nothing to worry about. A murmur in a baby under 6 months probably needs to be checked out. If your doctor hears one in your baby’s early months, or if your baby has other symptoms, he may send you to see a pediatric cardiologist.

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    Question 9/9

    When your doctor thumps and presses on your child’s belly, they're checking for:

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    Answer 9/9

    When your doctor thumps and presses on your child’s belly, they're checking for:

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    It may make your child giggle, but those tummy touches aren’t meant to tickle her. By mashing and tapping on your child’s middle, a doctor can learn lots of things about her insides, like if her liver or spleen is puffy or sore. Doctors can’t feel kidney stones -- they’re  inside the urinary tract.

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    You scored off the charts! You get a prize from the treasure box.

    Pretty good, but you’re still growing. See you back for your next checkup.

    Ouch. You have more learning to do.

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