A pediatrician is a doctor who cares for children. He is responsible for preventive care as well as treatment of injuries, infections, illnesses and diseases. Your pediatrician will use a variety of equipment for routine care and special equipment for other conditions. In fact, a pediatrician uses basically the same equipment as any other doctor, except that some of it designed with its use for children in mind. Examples include baby scales and child-sized blood pressure cuffs.
One of the first things your pediatrician does when he examines your infant is weigh her so that he can begin to monitor her growth at each visit. She is placed in a tabletop scale with sides that curve. As she becomes too large for this type of scale and is able to stand, he may have her stand on an adult scale to check her weight. Comparisons are made to a standard growth chart to determine whether her growth is normal.
A sphygmomanometer is used to check your child's blood pressure. A child-sized cuff is placed around his upper arm and inflated to create pressure. There is a tube attached to the cuff that leads to a gauge. As the air is released, your pediatrician can obtain a reading of the blood pressure. Newer equipment has a cuff that is attached to a monitor that has automatic digital readouts instead of a gauge to make it easier and more accurate.
Your pediatrician uses a thermometer to check your child's temperature. There are several types of thermometers available. He may use a rectal thermometer that is coated with petroleum jelly or other lubricant and placed in your child's anus until a reading is obtained. Her temperature can also be checked under her arm and if she is old enough to understand she can hold a thermometer under her tongue as long as she does not bite on it. Newer thermometers can check her temperature with an immediate readout by placing a probe into her ear.
Your pediatrician uses a stethoscope to listen to your child's heart and lungs. The flat end of the stethoscope is placed against his chest and the other ends are placed in your pediatrician's ears so he can hear your child's heartbeat. The end is placed against his back in order for the pediatrician to listen to his lungs. He may be asked to take deep breaths while the doctor is listening.
An otoscope is used to examine the inside of your child's ear canal and eardrum. It has a probe that is inserted into her ear with a magnifying lens and a light. Your pediatrician looks through the outside end to look for abnormalities of the ear. The ear may be examined for excess wax, foreign objects or inflammation caused by an ear infection.
An opthalmoscope is a device used to examine your child's eyes. It looks similar to a small flashlight and has a magnifying lens as well as the light. The instrument is directed into your child's eye to examine his retina, lens and optic nerve for abnormalities. In addition, your doctor will check his eye's reaction to the light.
Your pediatrician may use a variety of other equipment based on the reason for your visit. A hearing test may be given as your child gets old enough to understand the instructions. Syringes are used for delivering immunizations. A bulk syringe may be used to suction mucous from your child's nose. Splints, bandages and braces could be used to immobilize injuries. A reflex hammer is used to check your child's knee reflexes. Other examples include, but are not limited to, tongue depressors, suturing equipment, medical scissors, microscopes, electrocardiograms and forceps.