Selecting your child’s pediatrician is one of the most important decisions you make for the long-term health and well-being of your children and family. Your pediatrician will manage your child’s health, wellness, and growth and development from birth throughout childhood.
Why Select a Pediatrician
Pediatricians are graduates of a four-year medical school with three additional years of residency trained solely in pediatrics, and who can earn a designation as a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAP) by passing a national qualifying examination in advanced principles and practices of pediatric care.
When to Select a Pediatrician
Many parents select a pediatrician prior to the birth of their first child, when they relocate or decide to select a physician whose approach and philosophy is more closely aligned to theirs. You are your child’s greatest advocate, and your diligence in researching and selecting the best pediatrician for your child is important.
Tips for Selecting a Pediatrician
- Ask your obstetrician, midwife or other healthcare provider 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 to find a recommendation.
- Contact your health insurance to see which pediatricians are part of their plan.
- Schedule a pre-natal appointment, and interview both the pediatrician and the staff. Compile a list of questions to ask.
Sample of Pediatrician Interview Questions
- How many pediatricians are in the practice? Do you use nurse practitioners or physician assistants? What is their role?
- What is your policy on sick appointments? If your office is busy, can my child be seen on the same day he becomes sick.
- What is your average wait time for scheduling a routine, well visit?
- Do you have separate waiting areas for sick and well patients?
- How often are you on call for emergencies? Is there a pediatrician on call from your practice for emergencies at all times? Does a pediatrician or nurse respond to emergency calls?
- What are your offices hours, days open and locations?
- How quickly will a pediatrician or nurse get back to me during regular office hours?
- Do you have weekend hours? If so, what are those?
- What resources do you have available for nursing mothers?
- What is your philosophy on sleep training, antibiotics, medication use, vaccinations, wellness and healthy lifestyles, etc.?
- How do you monitor the growth and development of my child? Do you have available resources if these become an issue?
- How do you manage adolescent and teen visits? Do you allow parents in the room? How do you handle difficult issues like peer pressure, birth control, safe sex, suspected drug or alcohol use, STDs, depression and anxiety?
- Do you see children with special needs?
During the interview, gauge your comfort level with the pediatrician and staff members. You will be interfacing with the entire office staff, not just the pediatrician, so you need to feel welcomed and have a comfort level that meets you and your child’s needs.
Your Assessment of the Interview
- Were you comfortable with the pediatrician’s style and approach?
- Were you at ease asking questions?
- Is the practice’s philosophy compatible with yours?
- Did you have the pediatrician’s undivided attention?
- Did you understand the answers to your questions?
- Were the other staff members friendly and courteous?
- Was the office clean and professional in appearance?
- Did other parents in the waiting area appear to be satisfied with their experience?
Note to Expectant Parents
- Let the office know your due date, the name of the person who will manage your birth plan, and the planned location of the birth.
- Depending on where you deliver, you will need to schedule your baby’s first visit as soon as possible.
Select Find a Pediatrician, if you want to find a pediatrician who is a member of Kids Health First.