This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

10 tips for dealing with children

1 When you need to examine a child, hold and examine his or her hands first. It breaks the ice and seems much less threatening to children.

1 When you need to examine a child, hold and examine his or her hands first. It breaks the ice and seems much less threatening to children.

2 Talk to the child – not just to the parents (at least when the child is old enough to understand speech!).

3 When examining ears, make sure the child is held securely by the parent or carer – wriggling can lead to pain.

4 'I was good at the doctor' stickers, badges or certificates can work wonders (at least for the parents).

5 Even if one-piece babygros make it awkward, make sure the baby is stripped off if you need to examine the chest – how else will you see rib recession?

6 If you have toys in your consulting room, make sure they are both cleanable and quiet.

7 Examining boy babies often leads to a fountain of urine directed at your tie or clothes – be prepared.

8 Explain what you are going to do before you do it – children are naturally suspicious.

9 Make sure your consulting room is childproof – toddlers will explore drawers, buckets and bins if they can.

10 Ask about parental perceptions of allergy or intolerance before printing the prescription ('the yellow medicine always makes him high').

David Haslam has just been voted president elect of the RCGP

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say