Do you need a doctor for your newborn, baby, or young child? Here are some questions to keep in mind before you choose one!
Choosing your child’s primary doctor, also called a pediatrician, is an important decision. From the time your child is just a tiny newborn, you will bring him or her to the doctor for regular well-child checkups. These checkups should happen at the following ages:
As you can see, your child’s doctor might be in his or her life for a long time, helping to keep your child healthy well into adolescence and beyond!
So before you decide on a pediatrician, consider the following questions. The answers to these questions can help you make the best, most informed choice possible.
• If you have health insurance, does the doctor or medical practice accept it? If you don’t have insurance, what are the doctor’s fees?
• Is the doctor certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)?
• Are there online reviews of the doctor? If so, are they generally good?
• Is the doctor friendly and informative?
• Does the doctor take the time to listen to your concerns and answer your questions?
• Is the doctor good with children? How does your child respond to the doctor?
• Is the doctor’s office convenient to where you live or work, or is it near your child’s daycare center, school, or other care provider?
• Is the doctor’s office close to a subway station or other public transportation?
• If you have to drive, is parking nearby? Is there enough parking? Is the parking free or is there a cost?
• If you have a job, are the doctor’s office hours convenient to your work schedule? If not, does the doctor offer evening or weekend hours?
• Does the doctor offer same-day or sick appointments?
• Is the office staff helpful and friendly?
• Is the office staff clear about what to expect from the visit, how to fill out forms, and what estimated costs will be, if any?
• Is the waiting room clean and inviting?
• Does the waiting room have games or books for your child?
• How long is the typical wait before you and your child can see the doctor?
• Is it easy to reach the doctor by phone, and does the doctor return your phone calls in a timely manner?
• How does the doctor or the office staff follow up with test results, referrals, or billing?
• Does the doctor offer phone consultations for those times you may not be able to get to the office? If the doctor is unavailable, is there another doctor or nurse who can take your call?
• If it’s a group practice and your child’s doctor is unavailable, is there another doctor available to see you and your child?
• Are the paperwork, prescriptions, or other instructions you receive easy to understand?
Remember: you know your child best. If the pediatrician you choose isn’t right for you and your child, talk to him or her to see whether your concerns can be addressed. If they cannot, use it as a chance to find another doctor who may be a better fit. You have options.
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Healthfirst is the brand name used for products and services provided by one or more of the Healthfirst group of affiliated companies. This health information or program is for educational purposes only and not intended to treat, diagnose, or act as a substitute for medical advice from your provider. Consult your healthcare provider and always follow your healthcare provider’s instructions.
“Choosing a doctor for your baby,” BabyCenter.com. Accessed April 11, 2016.
“How to Choose a Pediatrician,” American Academy of Pediatrics. Accessed April 11, 2016.
“Finding a Pediatrician,” American Academy of Pediatrics. Accessed April 11, 2016.