How to Choose your Pediatrician

August 31, 2018
Selecting the right pediatrician for your child is one of the most important things a parent does. Making sure the pediatrician matches well with you and your child’s needs is imperative. A newborn sees the pediatrician around 5-6 times during their first year for checkups. It’s a smart idea to start looking for pediatricians in your area before giving birth so there is less worry once your child is born. Every parent wants their child to receive the best care; after all, this could be the doctor your child will be with for a very long time. Here are a few tips, tricks, and questions to ask to make sure your child will be in the right healing hands.

1. Research Doctors

One of the best references doctors rely on is word of mouth. Ask your family, friends, neighbors, even Facebook friends for recommendations on who they like (and/or don’t like) for a pediatrician. Another great resource is where you can search for local pediatricians and see patient reviews right away. Compile a list of 3-6 pediatricians that you like and want to look more into. Look into how far away the office is and make sure you are comfortable driving that distance with a potential sick child in the car.

2. Experience and Credentials

Pediatricians specialize in the care of children of all ages, from 0-18 typically. Pediatricians completed a three-year pediatric residency program after they graduated from medical school. It is important to take into account how long the pediatrician has been in practice since their residency. Some choose to work in a more private practice office setting, and some in a larger group setting such as urgent care, hospitals, or emergency departments. A pediatrician’s knowledge and decision making can broaden and be different from working in these different environments.

So what do all the credentials mean exactly?

Board Certified: Many pediatricians become Board Certified, meaning after the three-year pediatric residency they additionally passed series of rigorous exams. Pediatricians have to take these exams routinely to remain Board Certified.

AAP Member: AAP stands for the American Academy of Pediatrics, which sets high standards and guidelines for pediatric care.

FAAP Designation: FAAP stands for Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Only AAP Members can qualify for FAAP. FAAP members maintain in good standing in the AAP and are board certified; these members make an ongoing commitment to the lifelong learning and advocacy of children.

3. Meet the Doctors Face-to-Face

Many pediatricians offer free “get-to-know-you” visits that allow you to meet with the pediatrician and ask questions to see their style of care. This is also a good time to get to know the pediatrician and their personality. It is important that you and your child feel comfortable and confident in your pediatrician. By meeting different pediatricians, it is a great way to see if you’ll “click” with them or not.

Some Questions to Ask:

4. See how your child interacts with them

Pediatricians get into this specialty because they love kids, so make sure your pediatrician is interacting with your newborn and bonding to them on their first few newborn visits. Make sure your child is a good fit with the pedestrian, just because you might like the pediatrician before your child’s birth, you might realize it’s not the best fit afterward. The most important thing is that you and your child feel confident and comfortable in your pediatrician’s care.

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