How To Choose A Pediatrician

Whether you are starting a family, or your family is growing, choosing the right pediatrician to care for your children can be difficult and is vital to your children’s long-term health. Read here to find out everything you need to know to choose the correct pediatrician.

Pediatricians are vital to check on and maintain the health of your child. A pediatrician is a doctor who will care for your child’s health from the time of birth throughout childhood and adolescence until your child turns 18 years old. They oversee monitoring your child’s mental, physical, and behavioral health for the first 18 years of their lives, and helping you address any health concerns that may come up for your child. 

The long-term nature of the relationship between your family and your pediatrician means it is vital for you to make a sound choice when choosing a pediatrician to care for your child, or children should your family continue to grow. Your pediatrician oversees catching early onset issues that can affect your child’s development such as scoliosis or autism, so it is vital you make sure you choose a pediatrician with acute medical skills and excellent judgment who can help you address any issues that may arise. 

How to Find a Pediatrician for your Kids 

When deciding on a pediatrician for your child, you should begin to do research during pregnancy and start planning with a pediatrician 3 months before you or your partner’s due date. When looking for a pediatrician, you can begin asking for recommendations through word of mouth, online forums for your area, or searching on a website dedicated to helping you find a pediatrician in English or Spanish. 

When you are researching for a pediatrician, it is important to make a checklist of factors you would like your pediatrician to have to make sure you are not sacrificing on quality. Firstly, it is ideal if you know somebody who collaborates with the pediatrician you decide to go with and can receive first-hand confirmation on the quality of their expertise and hospitality. If not, the next best option is to find a pediatrician recommended by your doula or OB-GYN. Since you have already built an intimate working relationship with the person who is going to help deliver your baby, you most often will trust their judgment and be able to rely on their recommendation. 

If you are not able to find a pediatrician through either of these avenues, then finding a pediatrician online is not a terrible option. As you are searching online, make sure you check for the doctor’s accreditation and experience. Your pediatrician must have attended medical school, completed a residency, and achieved a state license. In the best-case scenario, your pediatrician will also have received a board certification, which is an option of extra accreditation showing they are not lazy, fully committed to their job, and proficient in both the hospitality and bedside care aspect of their profession and medically competent. 

What to Look for in a Pediatrician 

When you are deciding on a pediatrician, no matter what avenue you take to find the correct doctor, you should not sacrifice the qualities you are looking for in a doctor. If you are somebody who needs a doctor who has a holistic outlook on health, make sure you find a doctor who has the cultural outlook of holistic care to accompany their medical expertise. It is important you find a doctor whose office is located a manageable distance from your home as well, to ease transportation for doctor visits or in case of an emergency. 

You can ask the pediatrician you are considering their stances on immunization, co-sleeping, breast feeding, circumcision, and antibiotics to make sure your views align with theirs. You can ask them why they chose to work with kids to get a sense of their motivations and background and make sure their intentions are pure. Making sure your pediatrician is in your insurance network is also a vital detail to not overlook. Another important detail to consider is if their office has separate entrances and waiting rooms for sick and healthy patients, because children, especially infants are especially susceptible to illness such as the common cold. 

When deciding on a pediatrician it is important to know about the quality of their care. A question to ask is if they will perform their first check up at the hospital or birthing location in the hours or days following the birth? Other things to ask the person recommending the pediatrician to you concern their bedside manner and the comfort they will provide during visits. Do they answer emails or provide you with an emergency contact number? Is their office clean? Do they rush you through an appointment or take their time? Is the waiting room friendly for kids with toys and child entertainment? Is the doctor empathetic and able to explain things clearly to you and your child? Is the office staff friendly, professional, and able to make a child feel safe? Do you have to wait a long time in the waiting room or in the check-up room to see the doctor? These are all things to consider when choosing the correct pediatrician. 

How Much Does the Pediatrician Cost? 

Pediatrician visits are an expense to consider when planning the budget of your new or growing family. Without insurance, each pediatrician visit will cost on average $100 per visit, per child. But this cost does not include the added cost for immunization shots or any additional care costs outside of a standard check-up. In total, your pediatrician visits can cost around $3000 per year per child without insurance. 

With insurance, many of the costs of pediatric care will be covered with a lower monthly payment to your insurance provider. If your child is eligible for Medicaid, your child’s pediatric care including immunizations and dental care will be covered for a low cost, or no cost at all for you. For other insurance companies such as Aetna, the yearly premium can be up to around $500, but this cost will generally cover all of your yearly pediatric expenses including prescriptions or immunizations with little to no co-pay.