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What to Avoid in the Waiting Room

When you take your child to the doctor, you likely notice the toys, books, and stuffed animals that are made available to make the waiting room time pass more easily. However, a reminder from the American Academy of Pediatrics indicates that you may want to consider avoiding these items or bringing toys and books from home for your child to play with while waiting.

Avoiding Germs

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, doctors’ offices and urgent care centers should have the same strict infection control standards as hospitals do in order to prevent the spread of germs. This can involve the following:

  • Visual reminders posted around the office for patients and families to cover their nose and mouth with their elbow instead of their hand if sneezing
  • Visual reminders to properly dispose of facial tissues
  • Access to facial masks and alcohol-based hand sanitizers
  • Avoiding stuffed animals, which are more difficult to clean and can harbor germs

Preventative Measures

Medical professionals and families alike can also protect themselves by getting the annual flu vaccination along with other scheduled vaccines.

Doctors’ offices should also separate healthy and sick children in the waiting room, if possible, and watch patients as they come in so that these distinctions can be enforced. There isn’t a need to expose a child with an infection to another child who is only there for a physical.

Tips for Waiting Rooms

Every patient is familiar with the concept of having to wait at the doctor’s office, but there are steps you can take to keep your child engaged without unnecessary germ exposure. Try bringing a book from home with thick board pages that can easily be sanitized. You can also bring other easy-to-clean items such as puzzles, blocks, and markers. Leave stuffed animals at home or in the car—they can provide comfort later without absorbing germs into the fur inside the waiting room.

Make sure you take advantage of hand sanitizing stations and remind your child to play with the items you bring from home. Together, parents and medical professionals can keep germs contained at the doctor’s office.

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