Whether you are becoming a parent for the first time or simply need to change doctors, finding the right pediatrician for your child is an important decision. Pediatricians serve as experts on your child’s continual growth and development, and also are available to counsel parents on numerous medical questions and concerns. For first-time parents, the search for a pediatrician typically begins in the final months of pregnancy -it’s good to be prepared in case baby arrives early!
Here’s some advice to begin your search:
1. Ask for Recommendations
The best place to start looking for a good pediatrician is by asking friends, co-workers, medical professionals or neighbors for recommendations. Try to find parents with parenting styles you respect and agree with because their pediatrician criteria will likely mirror your own. If you are new to an area, call a nearby Children’s Miracle Network hospital or medical center to get recommendations. When asking for recommendations, mention your top priorities in finding a pediatrician; that will help narrow down the search. Preferences such as age, environment, how the pediatrician communicates with children, and gender are some characteristics to think about.
2. Insurance Cross-Check
Before scheduling an appointment with the pediatrician, check to see if the pediatrician is covered by your health insurance plan. You can ask the front desk staff at the pediatrician’s office if they accept your health insurance, or call your health insurance provider and request a list of pediatricians in a zip code covered by your plan.
3. Interview the Candidates
The best way to figure out if a pediatrician will be good for you and your child is to spend time with them. A lot of parents and soon-to-be parents will schedule short interviews with pediatricians. These are mainly information sessions and typically have no cost associated with them. Come prepared with a list of questions to ask in the interview, things such as vaccinations preferences (some pediatrician’s require their patients to receive vaccinations), which hospitals the doctor has relationships with, after hour emergencies, preferred form of communication and who will see your child if your pediatrician is out of town. This is also an opportunity to see the office, observe the overall cleanliness of the surroundings, meet the staff, and ask questions about appointments and billing.
Something to factor into your pediatrician choice is office location. A good idea is to choose a pediatrician with an office close to where your child will be. Children get sick at home or at school and having your pediatrician located near those places will make scheduling easier on you, especially if you are working. After selecting the pediatrician you’re most comfortable with, observe how the first few doctor’s visits go with your child. If things don’t go well or your child appears overly uncomfortable, consider switching pediatricians. It’s normal to change pediatricians more than once; the important thing is that you and your child are happy with your decision.
Even though it can seem like a lot of work, good pediatricians make a large difference in the overall experience for you and your child. Pediatrician visits will be an important part of your child’s life until they graduate from high school so make sure you are happy with your decision. Save your research as well; it could come in handy if you have to change pediatricians in the future.
Provided by Children’s Miracle Network
About Children’s Miracle Network
Children’s Miracle Network is a non-profit organization that raises funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals. Countless individuals, organizations and media partners unite with Children’s Miracle Network hospitals to help sick and injured kids in local communities. Donations to Children’s Miracle Network create miracles by funding medical care, research and education that save and improve the lives of 17 million children each year.