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How to Find a Local Pediatrician

Simple tips on how to find the right doctor for your child 

New parents have a lot to worry about, and finding the right pediatrician is high up on the list. During your baby’s first formative year, they should go in for many checkups. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends pediatrician visits three to five days after birth and then at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 24 months. Beyond that, kids come in for vaccinations, checkups, sports physicals, flu shots, sick visits, and more. Pediatricians are influential to the health of your child, so parents want to make sure they find the best doctor. Finding a new MD happens for first-time parents and those who moved to a new place. There are some guidelines to follow to make sure parents find the right fit for their child. 

FAAP Certified

Look for this acronym, FAAP, at the end of your future doc’s name. FAAP stands for Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and shows that doctors are up-to-date on the latest science and have finished their residency. The highest status in the organization and passed his or her board exam is called a fellow. 

Convenience

It may seem obvious, but a pediatrician’s location, office hours, and accessibility all contribute to finding the right doctor. If parents have more flexibility in their schedules, they may be willing to drive further distances for specific peds. However, for most people, finding a conveniently located office is necessary for most families. A pediatrician in Joplin will not be helpful for families looking for pediatricians in Illinois. When researching potential doctors, parents can narrow their search by the distance they are willing to travel. Also, some offices have unique hours, maybe they are not open Fridays, or they close at 5 p.m. Make sure these hours align with your availability. 

Reviews and Word-of-mouth 

A glowing recommendation may be the single biggest factor when parents choose a new doctor. It is impossible to know if you will like an office, the staff, and the doc without first-hand experience, but a suggestion from a friend is the next best thing. If someone you trust recommends a pediatrician, it’s worth noting that tip during your search. 

Similarly, online reviews can serve as a good starting point. Reviews also act as a secondary source to check the provider’s reputation, who you might be considering. Since you want to find someone local, Googling a pediatrician in Pittsford, a pediatrician in Stamford, or wherever you’re neighborhood is will bring up a list of options in your area. Pediatricians with good ratings are a great place to begin your search. 

Interview Potentials

Once you’ve narrowed your search, call the office to find out more information. Here are some questions to consider. Are they accepting new patients? What are the doctor’s credentials? What is his or her policy on answering questions? How long does it take for them to respond to inquiries? Does the doctor work with other MDs? Do they take appointments on short notice? Will they coordinate with specialists if your child requires different treatment? What are the care costs? And take note of the doctor or staff member’s helpfulness and friendliness while you are on the phone. Be sure to write down a list of questions that are specific to your needs before you interview a potential new doctor. Depending on their answers, you will have a clearer understanding if they are the right pediatrician for your child’s needs. 

Find the Right Specialist 

After pediatricians graduate medical school, they complete a 3-year residency. During this time, they learn a range of skills under the umbrella of pediatrics and discover what particular area of child medicine they want to pursue. Some can opt for additional training beyond their residency if they choose to specialize. Specializations, such as neonatal and child cardiologists, take additional years of training.

Specialists are often called upon by general pediatricians who need more information on a particular issue. If a child needs targeted care, such as an allergist or oncologist, then GPs will recommend those doctors. This is often the best way to find a specialist. Other than your general ped’s recommendation, parents can do online research. In unique cases, parents may need to travel between states to find the correct care. 

Make sure to put in the work on the backend so you don’t wind up with a pediatrician who cannot properly care for your child’s needs. You want to make sure they are not too busy, and spend time in the exam room and get to know your kid’s specific needs. Be sure they answer all your questions and that they provide the services necessary for you. Follow these tips, and you will find the right fit. 

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