Selecting your Child’s Pediatrician
Selecting your child’s physician is probably one of the most important decisions you will make to ensure the long-term health and well-being of your family. With the right selection, your pediatrician will manage your child’s illnesses as well as help you navigate your child’s growth and development from birth through young adulthood. The decision you make today will influence your child’s health and well-being for many years to come.
Why Select a Pediatrician?
Pediatricians are graduates of a four-year medical school with three additional years of residency training solely in pediatrics. Furthermore, a pediatrician can earn a designation as a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP), which means that the American Board of Pediatrics certifies him or her. In order to earn the FAAP, a pediatrician must pass a national qualifying examination in advanced principles and practices of pediatric care for newborns, babies, toddlers, children and adolescents.
When to Select a Pediatrician?
Many parents select a pediatrician prior to the birth of their first child. In addition, families sometimes relocate and must find another pediatrician in their new location. Alternatively, they may decide to select a new pediatrician who approach and philosophy is more closely aligned to their. As a parent, you are your child’s greatest advocate, and your diligence in researching and selecting the best pediatrician for your child will be important for the rest of his life.
How Can Kids Health First Help You Select a Pediatrician?
Kids Health First offers the following tips when selecting a pediatrician:
- Ask your obstetrician for a recommendation
- Ask your friends, families, co-workers or neighbors for a recommendation
- Call the referral line at the children’s hospital in your area or search its Website (404-250-5437, press 2 or search www.choa.org/findadoctor)
- Contact the recommended pediatric practice to see if your insurance is accepted and if the pediatricians are accepting new patients
- Schedule a pre-natal appointment, and interview both the pediatrician and the staff. Compile a list of questions that focus on what is important to you and your family
- Consider the size and location of the practice. How far are you willing to travel with a sick child? Are you more comfortable with a solo practitioner or do you prefer a larger practice with nurse practitioners, an onsite lab and/or x-ray capabilities? Answering these questions may help you narrow down your choices
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The next step is to select your pediatrician and contact the practice. For expectant parents, you will need to let the office know your due date, the obstetrician’s name and the hospital where you plan to deliver. If the pediatrician makes hospital visits, he will generally see your baby the day after birth. Otherwise, a hospital pediatrician will perform the necessary tests, and you may schedule a follow-up visit with the pediatrician.
Finding a pediatrician who fits your parenting style may take a bit of research, but it is well worth the time invested. Asking the right questions and trusting your feelings during office visits will help ensure that you select a pediatrician who is right for you and your child. If you would like to search for pediatricians who are members of Kids Health First, click on Find a pediatrician and good luck!