Plan for common mishaps with the help of your pediatrician

Beth's wise suggestion for making the most of your child's routine visits to the doctor:

I have learned to end our well-baby doctor's visits with this question to the pediatrician: "What do you get the most calls about from parents of 18-24mo [substituting your child's *upcoming* age range here]." For instance, at our last check-up my son was 1yo, and I asked about 12-18mo, and the answer was falls and head bumps. I then ask the doctor under what circumstances they want me to call them (falls from higher than a certain height, or with nausea, etc.), what warrants a trip to the ER, and what the correct home treatment is for non-emergencies.

When I get home I take a minute to read up on that type of injury and put a marker at the page in our first aid book where the info is. I pass on the information to my husband and anyone else who cares for my son. Then I also make sure I have the necessary stuff to handle the injury. Last time I bought a few of those kid-sized ice packs. And I put an emergency pint of vanilla ice cream in the freezer in the event that he smashed a lip or something.

In addition to now being prepared for the most common injury, I also have some guidelines about when to call the doctor *from the doctor herself*, so I'm not in that maddening limbo of wondering "Is this something I should call about?" (and as any new parent knows, that limbo can take up a lot of time and energy). A month after our 12 month visit, my son got his fingers pinched in a door. Not a fall, but voila!–we had an instant smushable "ice pack" of ice cream that he was willing to keep his hands in to bring down the swelling.

And yes, we did have occasion to treat a few falls and head bumps.