Children require frequent check-ups to ensure they are healthy as they grow and develop. Pediatricians are children doctors who help ensure they are in good health by ensuring that they are vaccinated and advising them, hence preventing illness in children. A child is always prone to several types of diseases and injuries, which pediatricians can treat. Most pediatrics are the primary caregiver for most children and are always the first place a parent stops looking for medical care or wellness check-up for their children.
Some parents prefer to identify a pediatrician for their child even before they are born. As a parent, you can research a pediatric doctor near me during the pregnancy period and find one located around your area of residence. Some pediatricians accept insurance covers. Before fully settling for a pediatrician as your baby’s doctor, they usually ask the parent a few questions on the family’s medical history and discuss the scheduled number of days and weeks in which they will be taking care of the baby’s health needs. They also provide additional services such as advice on postnatal emotional ups and downs, circumcision plans, and any other area that the parent is concerned about after their child’s birth. Some pediatricians even meet the baby at the hospital immediately after birth. Early identification of a suitable doctor for one’s baby helps avoid any unplanned and unknowns that may occur after the baby’s arrival.
There are various pediatric specialties. Some of them include:
- Neonatology- treatment for children born immature.
- Oncology-childhood cancer treatment
- Allergy and Immunology-treatment of ailments due to food and environmental allergies and immune system issues
- Neurology-treatment of the brain and nervous system disorders in children.
- Rehabilitative medicine-children occupational and physical therapy services.
- Otolaryngology-treatment for childhood neck, ear, and throat problems.
- Cardiology-treatment of heart conditions in children.
Pediatricians undergo several years of training before they are certified. After graduating from medical school, they undertake a three-year residency training followed by additional training in their specific specialization area. After this, they can proceed to practice. They can also choose to register as board-certified pediatricians after passing challenging tests and going through an adamant professional education that requires total commitment. The significant difference between a pediatrician and a family doctor is that they specialize mainly in handling children, unlike the latter, who are involved even in adults’ treatment.
Examples of questions a parent should ask when selecting a pediatrician include:
- The office working hours.
- How to reach them in case of an emergency after their working hours
- What other hospitals are they affiliated with?
- Can the same doctor treat the child on every visit?
- How friendly are the staff at the clinic or hospital?
- How is the payment made? Do they accept insurance cover?
It is recommended that babies receive medical care from pediatricians at least six times during their first year. As they grow older, the number of visits reduces to every three to six months at 1 to 3. The doctor can always see the child on wellness visits past three years old, typically even once a year. These health check-ups are essential in the child’s growth and development process since the doctor tracks their eating habits, physical and emotional development, growth rate, and sleeping habits. They are also responsible for any necessary vaccinations. During the visits, the parent can also raise concerns about their child and update on any improvements since the child’s last check-up.