1. Being a mom
  2. Raising a baby
  3. Health & safety

Flo Fact-Checking Standards

Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

How to Choose a Pediatrician: Your Step-by-Step Guide

As a mother, your child’s well-being is your number one priority. The right doctor will see you and your little one through the best and worst of times. Read on to learn when to find a pediatrician, questions for a pediatrician interview, and how to pick a pediatrician.

Pediatricians treat children from the time they’re newborns until they’re young adults (up to 21 years of age). Since the selection process requires research and perhaps a bit of legwork, many experts recommend starting your search before your baby is born. 

One to two months before your due date, you’ll want to begin narrowing down the field. This way, you’ll have more than enough time to gather background info and even meet a few pediatricians face-to-face.

Your pediatrician should be interested in the physical, social, and behavioral health of your baby. Their focus is on preventative care – in other words, ensuring they stay healthy – and on early intervention if they become ill. 

While walk-in clinics can be beneficial on short notice, having a dedicated pediatrician builds trust and makes it easier to access your child’s medical history. Consider the following factors when choosing a pediatrician: 

Try finding a pediatrician who practices near home, work, or school. It provides more flexibility when booking appointments, and they’re likely to be familiar with health and social services in your area. Also, be mindful of parking availability at the clinic or options for public transportation. 

Find out where they earned their medical degree, what types of patients they see, and if they have any specialties. The health care field is evolving at a rapid pace, so make sure they’re up-to-date, particularly if your child has special health needs. 

Try finding a pediatrician who practices near home, work, or school. It provides more flexibility.

All pediatricians must be licensed, and some will go the extra mile to become accredited or board-certified with different associations like the American Board of Pediatrics.

Ask your friends and family if they can recommend a good pediatrician. You’ll feel more confident about taking your little one to a doctor your loved ones trust. Also, consider consulting your own doctor or gynecologist about how to choose a pediatrician. 

Check if any pediatricians in your area are accepting new patients. If so, ask which days and hours they’re available to see patients. Some doctors have limited office hours, while others work out of two or more locations, which impacts their availability and could conflict with your own schedule.

After compiling a list of local pediatricians and clinics, check for online reviews or testimonials. You can also visit their office in person to see if it seems like a welcoming place for you and your baby.

After compiling a list of local pediatricians and clinics, check for online reviews or testimonials.

It’s important that you trust your pediatrician to care for your little one’s most crucial needs. Go with your intuition about whether a doctor’s office is the right one for your family.

Before making a final choice, get added peace of mind by conducting a pediatrician interview. Here are a few questions to ask potential pediatricians: 

  • What are your business hours? What should I do if my baby becomes sick or injured outside of business hours?
  • Do you offer in-home visits? 
  • Do you practice medicine on your own, or are you a member of a group practice (i.e., a team of pediatricians working at one clinic)? Who will see your patients if you’re unavailable or answer phone calls when the office is closed?
  • How long does it take to get an appointment? What’s the average time spent in your waiting room prior to the appointment?
  • How often do you recommend routine visits? What is your recommended immunization schedule, if these are not given during regular check-ups? 
  • What kind of preventative services does my child need at this age? 
  • If I have questions that don’t require an office visit, can I speak with you or your nurse by phone or email?
  • Which, if any, services will I need to pay for out-of-pocket? Which can be billed directly to my insurance provider? 

Lastly, be sure to share any relevant lifestyle information or parenting beliefs affecting your baby’s health care. For example, if your family is vegan, can your pediatrician respect that and provide appropriate nutritional guidance?

Be sure to share any relevant lifestyle information or parenting beliefs affecting your baby’s health care.

If you’ve decided to change pediatricians, you may have a different set of questions to ask the new pediatrician. Remember to ask questions that address any concerns or issues you had with your previous doctor. 

If your child has certain health conditions or diseases, you’ll want to find a pediatrician with the relevant expertise. Pediatric specialties include dermatology, cardiology, ophthalmology, speech pathology, endocrinology, and many others. In some cases, your doctor may refer you to other specialists to meet your little one’s health care demands. 

Your teen should feel comfortable enough with their pediatrician to discuss issues related to puberty, sexual, mental, or emotional health.

Keep in mind that adolescents and young adults require different levels of care than children. Your teen should feel comfortable enough with their pediatrician to discuss issues related to puberty, sexual, mental, or emotional health. 

Finding a pediatrician takes time and patience. Use your network of friends, family, and existing health care providers to recommend a doctor you can trust. Just remember to prepare plenty of questions to ask a pediatrician in an interview. With a bit of research and planning, you’ll be able to choose a pediatrician that’s right for your family’s unique needs. 

https://familydoctor.org/adolescents-and-young-adults-getting-the-preventive-services-you-need/

https://familydoctor.org/family-doctor-vs-quick-care-clinic/

https://familydoctor.org/tips-for-talking-to-your-doctor/

https://www.abp.org/content/what-certification

https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=choosing-a-pediatrician-90-P02647

https://www.chop.edu/news/health-tip/how-to-choose-pediatrician

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/family-life/health-management/Pages/How-To-Choose-A-Pediatrician.aspx

Read this next