Making personal health care choices can be an overwhelming task for anyone. When it comes to making medical decisions for our children, the job becomes ever more daunting. Too many parents tend to react out of panic and stress when their child falls ill. We rush our children to the nearest doctor or hospital without a careful, informed plan. As a parent of 4 children, Dr. Oz wants to empower all parents with the knowledge and confidence to take charge of their children's healthcare - so no one is ever left sitting in a hospital room wondering how it all went wrong.
Pediatrician Jennifer Trachtenberg, MD is a nationally recognized parenting expert and an author of the new book: "The Smart Parent's Guide to Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents: Expert Answers to the Questions Parents Ask Most." A fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Jen has practiced pediatric and adolescent medicine for more than 14 years and maintains a private practice in New York City. The Dr. Oz medical unit reached out to Dr. Jen, mother of 3, to share some of her best tips to help parents make informed health choices for their children.
Cornelia: Dr. Jen, what is your best piece of advice from the book?
The main thing, which may seem simple - is that parents need to feel empowered and be an active participant. They should be the expert in their child and the doctor is an expert in medicine. Parents should always ask questions and never leave a doctor's visit without knowing what do: What do I do when I get home? What do I do if my child gets worse?
Another thing that is really important - most people don't really plan ahead for emergencies - especially when it comes to children, it's really crucial to do that.
Cornelia: What inspired you to write the book?
I was compelled when the research from the Institute of Medicine came out - 27% of ER visit are for children, but only 6% of ERs are fully equipped to deal with children. There are misconceptions about hospitals, especially here in New York.
I've been in private practice for almost 15 years and the most common confession I hear is that parents feel that they are overwhelmed and it's scary. There's all this media and the information can be so overwhelming. How do you know that you're getting correct information? As a parent myself I understand why there is so much fear. All the information can be paralyzing. I wrote this book as an insider - a pediatrician and a mom.
You don't need to be a pediatrician - you just need to know which questions to ask!