How To Choose The Right Pediatrician For Your Child

When it comes to getting the best for your children, you make sure to think about the food they eat, where they play, the school they are going to attend, and fun extras like dance class, piano, violin, or even just soft play gym. 

There are a couple of places where the care really matters and should be the highest Pediatric urgent care that you can find. Sometimes you just want the closest office; other times, you're willing to travel to make sure the care is the best around. 

Choosing the right pediatric doctor for your child isn’t an exact science, and you might find that you need to switch to a different one soon after the first appointment. But here are some tips that can help you make the right decisions. 

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The location of the office is going to be one of the most important things. If you drive, then location might not matter as much, but if you are one of the millions of Americans that don’t drive, then getting a location nearby is going to be really important. 

Think about how much you are willing to travel for regular appointments or if your child needs to be seen more often. 

Are they recommended? 

When you are pregnant, often your OB-GYN will give you recommendations for pediatricians in the area, those they have worked with, or those they know specialize in what you need. 

You will likely forge a healthy bond with your OB-GYN, and they will be able to make sure that you have the right people after you have given birth. 

If you have other doctors, you can also ask them for recommendations. 

First Visit

Each pediatrician will have a different process, but an important one to ask about is where they will do the first check-up. Ideally, you want to have the first check-up at the hospital. Where the pediatrician is registered at the hospital you are in, they might choose to do a check-up quickly after birth. 

Other times, your first check-up will be with a doctor that is affiliated with the hospital, and you will head to the office of your pediatrician after about five days. 

Other recommendations

Perhaps during pregnancy, yoga, or other classes, or you have a lot of friends who have children and can give you recommendations. 

Ask who they are with and who would recommend them - and, more importantly, why they would. 

You ideally want to hear that the pediatrician listens to their concerns, makes time for them, isn’t difficult to get an appointment with, and overall they are great with the child too. The long-term relationship is important. 

Introductory visit

Before you settle on any pediatrician, you should be able to book an introductory chat with them. If you find that they are easy to talk to and you are comfortable with them, they might be the right person for you. 

You can watch how they handle your baby or your older children and see if they offer real care or are going through the motions as fast as possible to get you out of the office. 

For those who have children with extra needs or specific care requirements, is this doctor familiar with them? And if they are, how much? 

For some illnesses, you will want to find a pediatrician who either specializes in the illness or has a long history of treating children in the same situation. 

If during the visit or even after you or your child don’t feel comfortable with them, even if they are highly recommended, you might need to reconsider. 

Try to make a list of questions you want to ask so that you are prepared when you are there, and if you happen to forget anything, you want to ask. 

Here are a couple of questions you can ask: 

  • Do they accept your insurance?

  • Are there separate areas for children who are very poor? 

  • What hospital network do they use? 

  • What are their subspecialties, if any?

  • Are emails possible? 

  • Are appointments difficult to get?

  • If you have specific things that are important to you, like co-sleeping, breastfeeding, delayed vaccinations, or anything else, can you discuss them with them? 

What is the experience of the doctor? 

While all pediatricians will have graduated from medical school, as well as doing a residency and got their licenses, not all pediatricians are certified by the board. 

Because board certification is a voluntary process, not all pediatric doctors will do it. It involved additional training in pediatrics. Once they complete the training, they will take an exam and then become certified. 

You can ask or look for a certificate from The American Board of Pediatrics in the office. 

The reason that board certification is worth looking for is that before the doctor can be certified, they must show that they are competent in communication, medical knowledge, professionalism, and patient care. 

Office procedure 

There are a couple of things that can be beneficial to you that come down to how the office operates. 

  • Sometimes your child doesn’t need hospital care; instead, they need to be seen by a doctor as soon as possible. 

  • You might need to have appointments that are in the evenings or at weekends - does your pediatric office have that as an option? 

  • Will you see the same person each time, or is it a group where you will be seen by different people? 

Other staff

It is important that you feel happy and comfortable with all of the staff there; when you call for an appointment, you need to know the staff at reception are kind and will listen. Although it should also be remembered that it is the job of reception to be fast and efficient, this can sometimes read as cold. 

If the staff are polite and friendly and do the best job possible to get your child what they need when they need it - that can be a sign of a great pediatrician's office. 

It’s not just medical care that you will need to carefully consider; you should also pay careful attention to the type of dentist you choose too; here are some tips: 5 Aspects to Look for in a Child Dental Specialist

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