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Tips for Choosing a Pediatrician

January 14, 2016

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Whether you’re a new parent or moving to a new town, choosing a pediatrician is a big job. You obviously want a doctor you can trust—but how do you know what to look for?

Here are three tips for choosing a pediatrician for your family:

1. Use a reputable search tool

Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and HealthyChildren.org have tools that allow you to search for board-certified pediatricians in your community. You can also check your local medical societies for referral services or ask the closest major medical center or hospital for recommendations.

2. Interview a few different options

Rather than just going with the first local pediatrician you find, interview a few people to determine the best fit for your family. By thoroughly investigating your options, you can be more confident in your final selection.

3. Ask plenty of questions

Pediatricians are used to answering lots of questions, so don’t hesitate to ask as many as you need to feel comfortable. Remember: There’s no such thing as a stupid question.

You may already have a list of questions in mind, but here are a few suggestions just in case.

10 Questions to Ask When Interviewing Pediatricians

  1. Where did you go to medical school and where did you complete your residency training?
  2. Do you have privileges at any local hospitals?
  3. Does your office have an open advice phone line for parents to call?
  4. Do you answer questions via email?
  5. How long does it take to get a non-emergency appointment?
  6. Do you have separate waiting rooms for well and sick patients?
  7. Are there any weekend or evening office hours?
  8. What are the options for reaching you during after-hours?
  9. Is this a group practice where other physicians will potentially be available to cover for you on off days?
  10. What is your stance on some hot-button issues? (For example, breastfeeding, circumcision, immunizations and alternative medicine.)

Other factors you may want to consider is the location of the office in relation to your home, work and childcare, as well as how the hours of the office work with your schedule.

Of course, the most important aspect of choosing a pediatrician is finding one who makes you feel comfortable, confident and understood as a parent. Pay attention to how the entire process of visiting an office makes you feel—from finding a spot in the parking lot, to checking in at the front desk, to waiting in the exam room. Bringing your child to the doctor can be a stressful experience, especially if they aren’t well. Taking the time to find the right pediatrician is well worth the effort.

For more tips on choosing the right physician for your needs, download our free guide.

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