Remember when you were a child and went on a trip? Some of us are old enough to remember everyone jumping into the back of a station wagon and taking off. Many of us – especially in Virginia – have a story about all the kids piling into the back of a pickup truck.

Things are different now. There are more roads, they’re bigger, the vehicles are faster, and there’s a whole lot more of them. Child safety and car seats are now very important. In fact, on July 1 st, Virginia passed a new law that mandates that all children under 2 be placed in a backward-facing car seat.

It’s important to remember that not all car seats are the same.

The very first car seats were like baby jumpers. They hung over the backs of the front seats, with little holes for your baby’s legs, and were pretty much designed so that parents didn’t have to hold their children while they drove.

It wasn’t long before more people had cars, and the family vacation became a real thing. It became time for a new, and better car seat. This one, however, was primarily a booster seat so that your little one could enjoy the scenery while you motored down the road.

Perhaps this is what gave birth to the “Red Car” game.

It wasn’t until 1962 that someone designed a car seat that was really about safety. That year, Leonard Rivkin designed a car seat that actually made use of the seat belt.

Let’s say you’re in the market for a car seat. What should you look for?

Your first step is to do some due diligence. You’ve found a seat you like, but has the company ever had a major recall? Have you seen any ratings or safety tests on it?

Also, make certain that you’re looking at the right seat. A car seat is not something a child will “grow into.” Certain seats are designed for newborns and infants, and as baby grows, their needs in a car seat will change.

Your brother’s friend’s sister has a seat she’s no longer using. Can you take it?

Answer all of the questions you would ask when buying a new seat first. If you’re moving forward, think of it like buying a car. Do you have all of the necessary paperwork? Are all of the tags still on it? Has it ever been recalled? Has it expired…

Yes. Car seats can expire. Plastics get brittle. Fabrics begin to fray. Metals start to fatigue. Most safety products on the market – from football helmets to shin guards – have a shelf life.

And lastly with the car analogy: Is this the car seat your brother’s friend’s sister was using when she totaled the family van? You likely wouldn’t trust a used car that had been in a wreck. There’s no reason to trust a car seat that lived through one.

Your final step is to get your new seat into your car. Once you’ve done all of this homework, it will defeat the purpose of the seat to just wing it when it comes to installation. The Virginia Department of Health sponsors regular Certified Safety Seat events. These are often held at your local sheriffs or police department. Many times, your local fire department can help you with a proper car seat installation. Visiting the Department of Health website or a quick phone call will set you up with a trained professional.

Once you’ve had your seat installed, you’re ready to travel the world.


Perhaps you have a sick child. Maybe you need a physical to start playing soccer. It may have been a while since you’ve seen us.

Whatever the reason, you’re planning on a visit.

We strive to make the experience as pleasant and painless as possible, but not that many folks actually enjoy going to the doctor’s office. There are, however, some things to
plan on that can help make your visit that much easier.


This is going to be your most time-consuming visit. Once you’re done, each following visit will be much smoother, but since we don’t know you yet, there are some things we
would like to learn.

Your first step is to go through our Patient Forms. This contains some forms explaining our compliance with patient confidentiality rules, what your rights are, and almost all
of our patient and billing policies. It also houses some checklists, and is where you can give us information about your child. We’ll learn about past pediatricians, what medical files are available to us, some history about your family, allergies, and the like.

Some of these you can submit online, and any of them can be brought into our practices. But we’ll need all of this before we start our visit. It’s easiest to get them out of the way before you come.


The first thing you do upon arrival is let us know that you’re here. Unlike many pediatricians, we schedule pretty generously. We like to spend quality time with our families. This, however, doesn’t mean we don’t stay busy. As flu bugs go around, sports seasons start, and the cycles of the school year go by, we have our ebbs and flows, but being just a few minutes early assures that you get all of the time with us that you deserve.

Make certain that we know WHY we’re seeing you today! You’ve hopefully told us when you made your appointment. “Chloe seems to have a sore throat.” But it’s good to
have that reminder.

If you were a First Timer, there may be some I’s to dot and T’s to cross in your paperwork, but hopefully you’re ready to see your pediatrician. If you’re a returning patient, unless something has changed since your last visit (change in insurance, newly diagnosed allergy, etc.) we may not need anything else.


You’ve had your visit with our pediatrician, and everything went great! So, you’re ready to go home…

Not so fast!

You’ll need to see the receptionist on your way out. You may have a co-pay obligation, or we may have a question about your coverage. Let’s sew those up before you leave.

Your pediatrician may also want a follow-up visit. Sometimes this is as simple as a phone call. “Chloe’s fine. Thank you!” We may want to have another look into those little
ears to make certain things are progressing as quickly as we like.

Even if there’s no immediate follow-up requested, it’s a good idea to go ahead and think about your next checkup. For grownups, you can sometimes put them off for a little
while. Things move a bit quicker in a smaller and growing body, so we like to see our little patients a bit more often.

NOW you’re ready to leave…

Not so fast!

Did the pediatrician offer medication or a prescription for Chloe’s throat? Did they refer you to a specialist? Did they suggest a diet change?

You’re going to want to follow the doctor’s orders, and do it in a timely fashion.

We would love for all of our visits to be Well Visits and not sore throats. It would be great if each visit were planned well in advance. Things do sometimes pop up, and we
expect that. But doing a few of these small things can help to make your visit a quality time visit with your pediatrician, and not an administrative chore.