Worrying too much? Not enough? How do you know? Having a young child can be incredibly scary. You often feel like you don't know what to do and you don't want to make a mistake. Internet search results only lead to more questions. So you run to the doctor's clinic to try to get peace of mind. There are a few problems surrounding this behavior, but this post will help you address them.
Worrying as a new parent: paranoia or a valid concern?
In the beginning, it is completely understandable for a parent to be constantly on high alert about the health status of their child. Any child under a year old is very sensitive and must be cared for carefully.
Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)– also known as cot death or crib death– is the sudden unexplained death of a child less than one year of age, and is a real concern. There are no guaranteed ways to prevent SIDS, but you can do your best to maximize the safety of the environments your child is in, especially while sleeping. This includes putting newborns to sleep on their back, keeping the crib clean and relatively firm, having the baby sleep near you but not with you (ideally in a crib in your room.)
For parents of children over a year old, it is still important to be concerned with their health, but the likelihood of any serious complications and death are dramatically reduced. Most parents know this, but when you're actually with your sniffling or coughing child it's very difficult to not let your emotions get the better of you. As a parent, it's so difficult to see your child in pain and discomfort. When they are, you want to do everything in your power to help them feel better. The fastest and most reassuring option is running them to the GP clinic or hospital to see a doctor. It buys you peace of mind because you have an authoritative voice giving you an answer: which is usually saying that your child is fine. Again, most parents know that their concerns are probably unfounded, but they don't want to be wrong, they need to make sure. Unfortunately, this sort of behavior can place a heavy burden on healthcare systems. It can also unnecessarily expose children to sick people, increasing their chance of actually becoming sick.
We spoke to a GP working at one of the public hospitals in Singapore. In response to our question concerning whether parents are too fast to rush their children to a doctor, she said:
“As someone that works in urgent care and primary care, yes. Absolutely. It is amazing the number of parents that bring their kids in for colds that they have only had for a few days.”
You feel bad taking the doctor's time, and you can't bear the idea of exposing your child to more germs, but none of that is as important as ensuring nothing serious is wrong with your child. It's very understandable.
When you should have your young child see a doctor
- Fever that doesn’t subside, or high fever (38.5 Celsius)
- Loss of appetite
- Difficulty swallowing
- Headache accompanied by fever and vomiting
- Abdominal pain, especially on the right side
- A fall that causes swelling and doesn’t go away after a day
Speak with a doctor online. Why leave home to find a doctor if you don't have to? Can you have a doctor appointment online? Yes, consult a doctor online, right now! When appropriate, the doctor is able to provide you with a signed Medical Certificate (MC) if they believe you need one for work or school reasons.
We're also focusing on increasing access to mental health care. If you're thinking "I need a therapist near me" but don't know where to start, try the RingMD therapist directory. We will help you find the right therapist for YOU!
If you're a doctor or wellness expert considering offering virtual care services, here are some arguments to consider.