Health Care

How to Choose a Pediatrician

Doctor speaks to mother and child in a patient room.

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If you’re looking for a pediatrician, it’s easy to search the internet for a list of pediatricians near you or just ask a friend who they use. But taking time to meet with pediatricians and finding the one that best meets your family’s needs can pay off in the long run. To help parents make the best decisions for their families, we have some key questions you can ask, as well as red flags to look out for.

The first step is ensuring that a pediatrician accepts your insurance, and then schedule a visit to meet with the doctor. You’ll want to know what to ask — and what to look for in the office. These tips can help you get started.

Check Out the Waiting Room

You can learn a lot about a practice by looking around the waiting room. Here are some things to look for:

  • Are many people waiting to be seen, or do they seem on schedule? A dozen people waiting suggests you might be waiting for a long time, too.
  • Do they separate the ill and well children? Even a separate area will prevent a sneezing child from sitting next to an infant waiting for a checkup.
  • How does the office staff interact with the parents and children? Do they know their patients and seem to have a good rapport with them?
  • Is the waiting room clean? A pediatrician’s waiting room should be kept clean to prevent kids from passing infections to each other.

Once your name is called, be ready with a list of questions to ask. Be sure to write them down so you don’t forget.

Questions to Ask to Choose a Pediatrician

When interviewing a potential pediatrician for your family, these questions can get you started:

  • If my child is sick and I call for an appointment, will I get an appointment that day?
  • What are your office hours, and do you have evening and weekend availability?
  • Who covers your practice when you are out?
  • If my child needs to be admitted to the hospital, which hospital do you refer to?
  • Is there a fee if I miss a scheduled appointment?
  • Do you schedule well and sick visits at different times of the day?
  • Does your staff offer breastfeeding support?
  • Do you have a call service for after hours, and if so, how long after I call can I expect a call back?
  • Will you be the one treating my child every time we visit? If not, who will be?
  • What is the average time we can expect to wait in the waiting room before our appointment?
  • What procedures do you perform?
  • Are you board-certified? (Note: A pediatrician doesn’t have to be certified by the American Board of Pediatrics, but it shows the doctor’s commitment to expanding their knowledge.)

Of course, other questions may be important to you. Give yourself time to think about them and make your list before visiting.

Here to Provide Trusted Children’s Care

Some anxiety is normal when choosing your child’s pediatrician, especially for first-time parents. If you’re looking for a list of pediatricians to choose from, look no further than our children's care. By picking the right pediatrician ahead of time, you can rest assured that your child will be well cared for in body, mind and spirit.

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