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About Dr. Howard Bennett

Dr. Howard J. Bennett is a practicing pediatrician in Washington, DC and a Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at The George Washington University Medical Center. When he's not sharing humor with patients, Dr. Bennett loves to poke fun at doctors and medicine.

Here are my most recent posts

Reuse Pull-Ups and Be Environmentally Conscious

Lots of kids continue to wet the bed at night even though they are successfully using the potty during the day. (Even at six years of age, 12% of kids wet the bed.) Most parents use Pull-Ups during this period of nighttime wetness to make the morning routine easier for everyone. However, most kids become dry gradually and many of them will still be in Pull-Ups even though they are dry three or four nights per week. If your child is dry at night, you do not need the Pull-Up away the next morning. In most cases, a child can reuse a dry Pull-Up five or six times before it gets so tattered or baggy that it needs to be thrown away.


Howard J. Bennett, M.D.

What to Do If Your Child Misses a Birthday Party Because He Is Sick

Inevitably, most children will miss a friend’s birthday party because they got sick or came down with a contagious illness. It can be very difficult to explain to a young child why she can’t go to someone’s party. Instead of worrying about making other kids sick, your child will focus on what she is missing (this self-centered behavior is completely normal in young children). One way to handle this situation is to call the birthday girl’s parents and ask them to save a little piece of the party for your child. They can keep a few decorations, a goody bag, and two pieces of cake and ice cream. Then, when your child has recovered, she can go to her friend’s house with her present and they can have a mini-party together.

 —Howard J. Bennett, M.D.

Prescription Creams Have Instructions on the Box, Not the Tube

If you take your child to the doctor because of a rash or skin condition, the doctor will often prescribe a cream or ointment. The instructions will state how often and how long you should apply the medication. Because we are a “throw-away” society, most parents toss the box when they get home and put the tube in a convenient location. If you do this, you will not only be throwing away the doctor’s instructions, but the box also contains the phone number for the pharmacy and whether the doctor gave you any refills. So the next time you get a tube of cream, remember to keep the box it came in.

 —Howard J. Bennett, M.D.

Band-Aids Can Be Choking Hazards

In most pediatric offices, children get blood counts and lead tests at nine months and two years of age. After the finger poke is done, a lab tech puts a bandage on the child’s finger to stop the bleeding. Young children don’t like finger pokes. Consequently, they often try to pull the bandage off shortly after it’s been applied. What’s worse, they typically do this with their teeth and may choke in the process. In my practice, we deal with this safety hazard by telling parents to wait in the office for five minutes (that’s when the bleeding stops) and to remove the bandage before they put their child in his car seat.


Howard J. Bennett, M.D.

An Effective Way to Learn About Epi-Pens

The most popular medication used to prevent anaphylaxis in children with food
allergies is called the Epi-Pen. Although the company that makes this device
also makes an Epi-Pen Trainer, I have found that parents are better able to use
an Epi-Pen if they practice with the real device. To accomplish this, I keep a
supply of expired Epi-Pens on hand and give them to parents if one of their
children is diagnosed with a food allergy. (My supply comes from other parents
who give me their old Epi-Pens after they expire.) After showing parents how to
use the Epi-Pen, I have them go home and practice on an orange or grapefruit to
simulate what it will feel like if they need to administer the Epi-Pen to their
child. I ask parents to return used Epi-Pens so I can dispose of them with other
medical waste. If you have a child with food allergies, ask your doctor if he or
she could set up the same program for patients.