Choosing a pediatric home for your child is one of the most important decisions you must make as a new parent. It’s extremely important to find a medical practice that holds the same care philosophies as your own. Look up phrases such as “pediatrician Doylestown, PA” to find what local doctors in your area pique your interest. If you’re expecting your first child or are just looking for a new pediatric home for your growing family, here are some quick tips to help you narrow your choices on where to seek pediatric care for your family.
1. Do Your Own Homework and Research
When choosing a pediatric practice, parents need to be advocates for their children, this means taking matters into their own hands and doing preliminary research on local pediatric clinics that they are considering. Some important things to take stock of is whether the practice accepts your particular insurance provider and whether the pediatricians at that practice are accepting new patients. From there, you can dig into the practice’s policies surrounding appointments, payment plans, and what particular special services, such as after hours care, asthma management, or ADHD testing, the practice might also provide.
For expecting mothers and fathers, some practices offer prenatal consultation visits. During these visits, expecting parents can meet with the practice’s pediatricians, see the office space, and have any questions they may have answered. Many parents find that having the opportunity to see the space prior to the arrival of their child is a great help in deciding where to take their child for medical care once they have arrived.
2. Verify The Doctor’s Credentials and Experience
This one feels obvious, but it’s critical when choosing the right pediatrician. Make sure to learn as much as possible about the pediatricians you are considering for your child. A pediatrician must undergo medical school then complete their residency in pediatrics. Many pediatricians become board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics.
3. Confirm the Pediatrician’s Availability During Office Hours and After
Your child’s doctor is only as good as how accessible they are to your family when you need them. If your family does go in for a prenatal consultation, make sure to ask the pediatrician what their protocols are for after hours care, and how to reach them during and outside of regular business hours should your child experience a critical medical issue. In many cases, pediatricians will prefer that you consult them before taking your child to urgent care or the emergency room, potentially saving your family from a costly, possibly unnecessary visit.
4. See How Well You Get Along
When choosing a pediatrician, you are essentially choosing to enter into a relationship with that provider for at least the next 18 years, so it’s a good idea to pick someone that you get along with and can trust to be your partner and advisor with your child’s care throughout their various life stages, from newborn care to young adulthood.
5. Watch How the Pediatrician Interacts with Your Child
Given that most pediatricians go into pediatrics because they love kids and have a knack for interacting with them, most pediatricians will know how to handle and speak to a child in a way that is neither demeaning or condescending. If you feel like the pediatrician you choose does not get along well with your child or their interaction with children seem to be a bit strained, then it might be time to look into changing your child’s provider for someone that is more suited for working with children and is willing to invest in a relationship with your child.
All in all, finding a pediatrician can feel like a daunting task but with a bit of research, a good referral from a friend you trust, and following a good gut instinct, you are bound to find the right medical home for your family and the right provider for your new baby.