March 2019

How Often Should a Child Visit a Pediatrician?

Your pediatrician is your partner when it comes to the wellbeing and health of your child. It’s not possible for a child to determine whether they are healthy or sick. You may also not know when your child is developing a health problem. However, such things can be detected and dealt with early when your child sees a pediatrician more often.

When most health problems are detected and treated early, the health and normal development of a child remains on track. This ensures that your child has a happy and healthy life.

But, how often do you have to take your child for pediatrician visits? A pediatrician focuses on promoting the wellness of your child. Therefore, don’t reserve pediatrician visits to when the child falls sick only. Consider your pediatrician as a useful resource that will keep your child healthy.

So, How Often Should a Child Visit a Pediatrician?

According to the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, your child should make 7 well-child visits from the age of 1 to 4 years.

These should be spaced as follows:

  • 12 months
  • 15 months
  • 18 months
  • 24 months
  • 30 months
  • 3 years
  • 4 years

After hitting 4 years, your child should see a pediatrician every year for annual check-up. But, bear in mind the fact that this is a general recommendation. A child may need to see a pediatrician more often especially if their health is a concern.

Importance of Well-Child Visits

Most sicknesses and health problems can be prevented with regular pediatrician visits. Basically, you should not wait until your child has a health problem to take them to a pediatrician. Instead, work with the pediatrician to ensure the overall wellbeing and health of your child.

A pediatrician identifies most health problems during regular visits. They also keep the development and growth of a child on track. Thus, if your child has developmental problems or delays, they can be identified and corrected early.

So, if you have not been taking your child to a pediatrician more often consider doing so for their overall wellbeing and health.

How to Become a Pediatrician

A pediatrician is responsible for maintaining the wellbeing and health of children. This is a very important job in every country. However, becoming a pediatrician is not easy. The reward of pursuing what you love and taking care of children is worth the amount of time you invest in it.

Undergraduate Studies

As a graduate that has pursued a bachelor’s degree from a recognized and accredited university, you can become a pediatrician. Many learners opt for premed majors. However, it’s possible to pursue pediatrician studies with any major. You just need to attend classes that make you ready to seat for the Medical College Admission Test.

Such classes include genetics, biology, chemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, physics, organic chemistry and math. Most medical schools prefer well-rounded applicants. Therefore, spend time doing volunteer work that involves children to show that you are really interested in this field.

Medical School

A pediatrician has to graduate from a medical school with accreditation. The focus of the first 2 years at the school is on basic skills. The other two years focus on hands-on patient practice. The last 2 years entail choosing pediatrics as a specialty. As a student, you have to pursue the necessary courses in your field. In the last year at the medical school, students engage in elective rotations that happen in different locations within the country.

Residency

Once you are done with medical school, you apply for pediatrics residency at a hospital. To become a pediatrician, you need a 3 year accredited residency. You study various outpatient and inpatient methods, pediatric illnesses, and different forms of pediatric care including neonatal intensive care and acute care.

Residency training is usually difficult at the beginning because you will be responsible for very sick children. You also have to work for a long duration of up to 100 hours per week and earn a minimal salary.

Certification

To be certified, a pediatrician has to take the General Pediatrics Certifying Examination. A degree from a medical school, training in pediatric residence and medicine practice license are required to sit this examination. The exam takes one day or seven hours of multiple-choice test.

The Job Outlook for Pediatricians

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that physicians’ employment will generally grow by 24% by 2020. This growth rate is faster than that of the average jobs. Therefore, there is a positive outlook for physicians’ employment including that of pediatricians.

How to Choose Your Child’s Pediatrician

A pediatrician is a healthcare professional with special training in the illnesses and health of children since birth to adolescence and young adulthood. Most pediatricians have certification to prove their qualifications. By the time your child reaches middle school, you have most likely found a pediatrician that you would like to attend to their healthcare needs. Nevertheless, there are cases that may compel you to get a new pediatrician for your child. For instance, your pediatrician can retire or you can relocate with your family. Such circumstances may require you to get a new pediatrician for your child. Here are tips to help you.

Start the Search Early

It’s wise to start looking for a pediatrician early. For instance, when moving out of town or when expecting a baby, start the search for a new pediatrician early. This is very important because once you get a baby, moving around looking for a pediatrician might not be easy. The process may be daunting. However, remember that the pediatrician you choose will play a significant role in ensuring the health and happiness of your child.

Conduct Research

Conduct an extensive research before you make a choice. This includes getting recommendations from friends, colleagues, and relatives. But, remember that a pediatrician that one kid likes might not be the best for your child. Therefore, take time to conduct your research. You can also talk to your health insurance provider and visit different pediatrician offices.

Schedule a Face-to-Face Meeting

Once you have identified prospective pediatricians, set up a face-to-face meeting. When scheduling an appointment, ask whether the pediatrician charges a fee for it. Such charges are not covered by health insurance. During your meeting with the pediatrician, ask relevant questions. For instance, find out more about the availability of the pediatrician. Also inquire whether the pediatrician works alone or with other professionals.

Basically, these are just some of the tips to help you choose your child’s pediatrician. It’s also crucial to consider the proximity of the pediatrician that you choose to make regular visits easier. Also read reviews of different pediatricians before you make your final decision.