Frequently Asked Questions
Are your child's vaccinations current?
How do I select a pediatrician for my child?
It is always helpful to ask your obstetrician, friends and family for recommendations, but ultimately you will have to feel comfortable with the fit between you and the physician. It is important to do some research and schedule an interview with prospective pediatricians prior to the birth of your child.
What kind of questions should I ask the pediatrician on the interview?
Before you begin your interview session with the doctor, try to get a sense of the office environment. How do the patients seem – have they been waiting long? Is the receptionist friendly? Is the environment comfortable, warm and friendly?
When you meet the pediatrician, ask specific questions about the practice, as well as his/her background, philosophy, availability, hospital affiliations and any financial questions you may have.
Background: When and where did the doctor complete medical school and residency? How many years has the pediatrician been practicing and is he/she a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics? How soon will he/she see the baby after birth? How does the doctor feel about mothers calling after hours, and is there a time of day that the doctor takes phone calls? What is the pediatrician’s philosophy on breast feeding, circumcision, antibiotics, etc.? Is the doctor warm? Does he/she answer your questions clearly and seem to be patient? Do I feel comfortable with this doctor?
Availability: Are the office hours convenient? Does he/she have weekend and evening hours for the working parent? Is there 24/7 coverage? Is the location easy to get to?
Hospital affiliations: Where would your child be admitted if necessary?
Financial matters: What is the payment policy? Does the office help you with the insurance forms?
How often do I see the doctor for well visits?
There are so many changes in the child’s first 12 months of life that it is critical to administer vaccines and do the appropriate physical and mental evaluations on a timely basis, so it is important for you to keep track of all your appointments with the doctor. These visits also give you the opportunity to ask questions regarding your child’s development.
The schedule is as follows:
2-3 days after birth for vaginal deliveries
5-7 days after birth for C-section babies
2-4 weeks depending on doctor’s recommendation at first visit
1 visit per year for annual checkup after 3 years of age
What should I remember to tell the doctor when I take my child in for a sick visit?
- The “chief complaint” or main reason that you brought your child to the doctor. This is usually the most bothersome or worrisome symptom that your child has.
- Details about when your child began to get sick and how long he has been sick. It is important to try to be as clear as you can about this, as some people say that their children have had a cough for 2 or 3 months, for example, when they really mean that he was sick a few months ago, got better, and is now sick again.
- All of the symptoms that your child is having
- Any medications that you have been giving your child, including prescription, over-the-counter, herbal remedies, etc. Including some details about whether these treatments have made your child’s symptoms better or worse can also be helpful.
- Inform the doctor about sick contacts and any other reasons that your child might be sick, such as exposure to other sick kids at daycare, a recent visit to a petting zoo, recent travel history, or a recent tick bite, etc. A family history of similar symptoms would also be important to mention to your doctor. At your visit with your doctor, it is important to ask questions to make sure that you understand what is wrong with your child.
Before you leave make sure to ask your doctor about:
- when your child will no longer be contagious and can go back to daycare or school
- when you can expect your child to get better
- what signs or symptoms to look for that might mean that your child is getting worse
- when you should make an appointment for a recheck
- what treatments are being prescribed or recommended for your child
If I choose a male pediatrician for my daughter, how will she be physically checked if she is uncomfortable with the situation once she becomes a teenager?
Whether you have a daughter or a son it is important to select a practice that has both male and female physicians on staff. As the years pass and your child begins to go through puberty, he/she may want to have a relationship with a doctor of the same gender. Having that diversity allows your child to switch physicians yet remain a patient in the practice though young adulthood.
Sometimes I have questions but do not want to bother the doctor. Who can I call?
You can call anytime during office hours and speak with one of the nurses on staff. If there is something they can’t answer they will be sure to speak with the doctor and get back to you with the appropriate information.