There are many questions that new parents often ask regarding their children. Typically some of the most important questions deal with the health and wellness of children. This is no surprise as parents obviously want to ensure that their children grow up as safe and healthy as possible. One of the most critical questions that parents must discuss relates to where and when they should take their children to the doctor. Fortunately, there are many excellent pediatricians that can provide the best possible care for children.
What is a pediatrician?
While some doctors go to medical school with the desire to be a general family physician, others decide to specialize in particular areas. For example, an oncologist specializes in treating cancer while a cardiologist specializes in treating heart disease. A pediatrician is also a specialist. Pediatricians specialize in medicine dealing with children, typically treating patients from birth until their late teens. Pediatricians provide an important service because they are specifically trained in assessing the unique medical needs of children. This is particularly helpful during the first few years as pediatricians can track a child’s growth and development and ensure that they are meeting age-appropriate outcomes.
Medical decisions are obviously critical and may also vary significantly based on the context of an individual family’s needs. One thing is certain: every child needs to be seeing a physician, whether a pediatrician or a general practitioner, on a regular basis for preventative healthcare. It is particularly important during childhood for children to have regular doctor visits on a predetermined schedule, not just when children become sick.
However, it would be beneficial if the doctor that is selected for your children is a pediatrician. There are many reasons for this. First, pediatricians have specialized training and expertise in issues that are often experienced by children. Thus, a pediatrician may be able to identify potential problems in a child’s growth and development and treat them proactively while a general physician may be less likely to notice problems before they develop. This can save a great deal of time and expense.
Additionally, pediatricians are typically more knowledgeable about problems often encountered during childhood and can give the best advice for treatment. Since they see only children and adolescents, they have a lot of experience in issues directly related to this age group. They can help answer your questions about your children, calm your worries, and give advice. Also, many pediatricians have an after-hours hotline for parents who need to decide if a medical situation is an emergency or can wait until the next day for a doctor visit.
It is also good to be familiar with the experience of the staff at your pediatrician’s office. For example, as noted on the Newport Children website, “Pediatric care providers and medical assistants have a very complex role. They assist physicians and are responsible for the initial picture your children will see when visiting the doctor’s office. A happy, friendly face helps to put your children at ease.” Sometimes going to the doctor can be frightening or painful, so building up a relationship of trust is important.
Ultimately, pediatricians provide an important service for children, helping ensure that they are in their best health. Ideally, your child already has a pediatrician that they are seeing regularly. However, if this is not the case, it is recommended that you research pediatricians in your local area and schedule an appointment for a checkup soon.