Pediatricians are an amazing source of knowledge and wisdom and can provide much-needed peace of mind in the early days of your baby’s life and well into their teens.
Furthermore, good health in an infant’s first few years of life lays a critical foundation for lifelong wellbeing. That’s why a pediatrician is one of the most important people in a newborn’s life – as well as the parents’ or guardians’ lives.
In this post, we’ll talk about pediatric healthcare, including:
- What a pediatrician does
- Why pediatricians are an important part of a child’s healthy development
- When to see a pediatrician
- How to find a pediatrician that’s right for you and your child
Pediatricians are licensed doctors who specialize in providing healthcare for young patients from birth to adulthood. Their wide range of medical expertise includes diagnosing and treating illness, healing injuries, providing immunizations for children, and treating other health conditions. They also provide pediatric well visit checkups to ensure important health milestones are met.
To earn their license, pediatricians must attend four years of medical school and work three years in pediatric residency. Their residency training includes 12,000 to 14,000 hours of delivering all types of pediatric healthcare under the guidance of experienced doctors.
Throughout your child’s health journey, pediatricians will spend a lot of time getting to know your child. Basic pediatric services can include:
- Pediatric checkups and sick child exams
- Immunizations for children (See our Pediatric Immunization Guide for more info)
- Asthma management
- Child health and disability prevention exams
- Childhood obesity screening, prevention and management
- Pediatric dental care
- Hearing and vision screenings
- School and sports physicals
- Diagnoses and treatment of Attention Deficit (ADD) and Hyperactivity (ADHD) conditions
Did you know: TrueCare is the only community health center offering testing for learning conditions through our Academic Success Program? If your child is struggling at school, Contact Us for an assessment.
Parents often wonder if it’s okay to take their children to the family doctor. The answer is yes – family doctors are qualified to provide routine care for children. However, there are compelling reasons for choosing a pediatrician regardless of a child’s age.
Pediatricians only work with children, which gives them broader experience recognizing and treating childhood illnesses. They also have specialized training in the physical, emotional, and behavioral needs of children – an important factor when dealing with children going through the difficult teenage years. If your newborn arrives prematurely or has a health condition that needs close monitoring, a pediatrician may offer more specialized care.
Finally, the primary goal for most practicing pediatricians is preventive care. They are trained to identify and provide early care of acute illnesses to prevent a disease from progressing. They also have experience treating life-threatening childhood conditions requiring intensive care and can help you anticipate your child’s needs from newborn to 21.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) offers information on the Ages & Stages of healthy children here.
Your pediatrician will see your baby many times from birth to 2 years, and annually from 2 to 5 years old. After age five, your pediatrician will likely see your child every year for an annual pediatric checkup. Regardless of age, children should see a pediatrician in the following situations:
- Illness. Your pediatrician is the first person to call when your child gets sick, especially if he or she has a high fever.
- Injury. Depending on the injury, initial treatment may take place at an emergency or urgent care facility. Afterwards, you should follow-up with your pediatrician to keep an eye on the healing process.
- Immunizations. Children require different immunizations based on their age group. Pediatricians know when to give immunizations for children, what type, and the correct dosage.
- Pediatric well-visit checkups. These are important for diagnosing health problems that may have long-term impact and determining whether your child is meeting developmental milestones.
- Behavioral problems. Unusual or sudden changes in behavior can often signal underlying medical issues.
The CDC and AAP Offer a checklist tracker for Developmental Milestones.
As a parent or guardian, you instinctively know when something is wrong with your child. If you’re not certain that an office visit is in order, schedule a virtual appointment with your pediatrician from the comfort of your home. These visits are conducted using video and are ideal for the diagnosis of minor conditions and illnesses, managing chronic ailments, and more.
It’s highly recommended to have your baby’s first appointment within a week of birth. So, it’s a good idea to choose a pediatrician prior to the arrival of your bundle of joy. However, if you move or your insurance changes, you may find yourself seeking a new pediatrician to serve in this very important role.
There are many factors to consider when choosing a pediatrician.
- Comfort. Pediatricians come from a variety of backgrounds and have different experiences. It’s important to find one where you feel comfortable discussing your child’s health with them.
- Trust. You’ll see the pediatrician frequently during your child’s first few years. So, you’ll want to make sure you like, trust, and respect the person you choose to care for your child.
- Communication skills. The best pediatricians are good listeners. They take the time to hear your concerns and make sure they understand them. Then they communicate their diagnosis and treatment plan in way you can easily understand.
- Special expertise. Doctors often specialize in specific health issues such as asthma, obesity, or ADHD. If your child is struggling with any of these, or other issues that may involve a long-term treatment plan, look for a pediatrician that offers expertise in that area.
- Language. If you’re wondering, “Where can I find a Spanish speaking pediatrician near me,” TrueCare provides native speakers in this and six other languages at several of their locations.
- Cost. If you don’t have health insurance, it’s important to find a low-cost pediatrician. At TrueCare, our Medicaid pediatricians provide quality pediatric services regardless of ability to pay. Additionally, our Program and Resource Specialists can assist you in enrolling in affordable health insurance plans. Contact a TrueCare specialist today at (760) 736-6734.
Health organizations often post information about their doctors on their web pages. If you’re moving and you’ve had the same pediatrician for a long time, ask him or her to refer you to someone who will be closer to your new residence or covered by your new insurance. Or, ask a friend to recommend a good pediatrician. A little research will go a long way in helping you find a pediatrician you and your children feel comfortable with.
Find a TrueCare Pediatrician Near You
Location can be an important factor when choosing a pediatrician. Consider if you want someone close to your home, work or school.
Check out TrueCare’s compassionate pediatricians to learn about our highly qualified staff.
We offer several locations across North County San Diego as well as a Perris health center. Our doctors have the experience, expertise, and dedication to help your children achieve health and wellness.
Watch the video to see how TrueCare delivers complete pediatric care for the ones you love. When you visit a TrueCare pediatric center, you’ll understand what we mean by family care.
Make an appointment today with a TrueCare pediatrician for your child’s next well visit or sick care.
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