4 things to consider when you choose a pediatrician
Whether you’re looking for a pediatrician for your newborn or teenager, it’s important to take the time to pick the right doctor for you and your child.
Your pediatrician will develop a close relationship with you and your child, so you’ll want to find someone you both feel comfortable with — from discussing illnesses and immunizations to navigating behavioral issues and puberty, a pediatrician is an important part of your child’s life.
Why it’s important to choose the right pediatrician
A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in the care of children from birth through the age of 21. They provide healthcare for your child, including regular wellness visits as well as mental and emotional evaluations.
Often, pediatricians are trained in subspecialties, which is one thing you’ll want to consider in your search for the right one for your child. A pediatric doctor sets the foundation for your child’s relationship with their health and choosing one that clicks with both you and your child is important.
If you’re unsure where to start, here are four things to consider when choosing a pediatrician for your child.
1. Do your research
Start by talking with your friends, family members and maybe even your OBGYN to learn about pediatricians they love and would recommend. Hearing honest reviews from those you trust can help make your decision easier.
Also, consider your insurance in your research. If possible, find someone within your coverage network, and make sure they are accepting new patients. If you don’t see a provider you’re interested in on the list, feel free to call your insurance company to double check. Sometimes, providers are added at the last minute and might not appear online immediately — so calling can help you be sure a provider is included under your insurance.
2. Consider location
Consider looking for a pediatrician who’s close to home, work or school. When your child comes down with a cold, a high fever or a mysterious rash, you’ll be glad your pediatrician is nearby for those unplanned doctor’s office visits.
It may also be a good idea to ask if a pediatrician’s office can accommodate same- or next-day appointments, or if you can call or message them with questions when you need medical advice.
Finding someone who clicks with your busy schedule is important to make sure your child gets the care they need, when they need it most.
3. Find a perfect fit
Schedule face time with the doctors you’re considering to determine if you connect well with them. Then, after you’ve chosen a pediatric doctor, see how they interact with both you and your child throughout the first few visits. Do you feel comfortable talking to them about your concerns? Do you feel heard? Do you trust their advice?
Your pediatrician will be with you and your child for years to come, so it’s important that you’re both comfortable with your choice. This will be especially important as your child ages and starts to take ownership of their own healthcare. If it doesn’t feel right, it’s okay to try another pediatrician to make sure you have the right fit.
4. Check their credentials
This is a great way to help start your search for a pediatrician. Checking their credentials should include making sure they earned their medical degree from a reputable school. You may also want to consider a pediatric doctor who is board certified, meaning they underwent additional training. If they pass the test after training, they will be certified either by the American Board of Pediatrics or the American Board of Family Medicine.
Choosing a pediatrician is an exciting part of your parenting journey. This person is going to be there right alongside you to help your baby grow and flourish.
Pediatric care at Geisinger
Our pediatrics team is here to help keep your child happy, healthy and growing strong. From annual checkups and school physicals to scraped knees, colds and ear infections — you can count on us.
Our pediatricians are specially trained to manage children's health of all ages, from infancy to age 18 — including physical, behavioral and mental health. From baby checkups and well-child visits to guidance through puberty and young adulthood, we’re here to help you navigate your child’s health and well-being.
To care for your child, your pediatrician will provide:
- Access to resources for mental and behavioral healthcare
- Annual checkups, including more frequent visits for your baby
- Immunization shots, or vaccinations
- Physical exams — for school, sports and even college
- Sick care when illness strikes
- Reproductive health and sex education, HPV vaccines
- Referrals to specialists, if needed
- Follow-up care and more
Our pediatricians are also backed by a large network of pediatric subspecialists, so you don’t have to travel far when your child needs specialty care. We have you covered from ear, nose and throat issues to sports injuries and more.