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Why do I need to take my child to a pediatrician instead of my family doctor?

Pediatrics is a very specialized part of medicine and healthcare. Children are sometimes viewed as small adults, however, that is so far from the truth. Children require a professional that has been trained in pediatrics and has the knowledge to best take care of their health and wellbeing. That is why it is imperative that parents take their children to see a pediatrician as their primary care physician.

Amongst other reasons, Pediatricians are preferred over adult physicians because Pediatricians are taught to provide what is called “family-centered care.” Family-centered care is exactly as it sounds. The family is the main focus of care which means they are providing services to the entire family, not just treating a patient. For instance, a pediatrician might be able to provide resources for the parents of a patient with a new diagnosis or treatment options that are realistic for a family that might not have a lot of money to afford the expenses.

So, what do you do once your child has a life-altering diagnosis?

Whether it be asthma, seizures, or Crohn’s disease, any life-changing diagnosis can be scary and overwhelming. Obviously, you want the best care for your child. Your first step is to consult your pediatrician for a recommendation of a Pediatric specialist in the field you need. Pulmonology for asthma, Neurology for seizures and Gastroenterology for Crohn’s disease, etc. If there is a need for a specialist for a specific disease, it is very important that they see a pediatric specialist. Not only do they have more experience in diagnosing children with these common illnesses, but they are familiar with the treatment options as well. Adult physicians, although well educated, do not treat children with these diseases often. They are not familiar with the care and treatment options that are always evolving and changing.

Pediatricians also work very closely with outside companies that can provide services for medically fragile children as well. There are many facilities and home-health companies that specialize in the care of children with difficult diagnoses that require skilled nursing care. Pediatricians are a gateway to these services that are offered in your local community. Some of these facilities require a pediatrician to prescribe this level of care for approval. Therefore, it is important that the pediatrician knows your child and is able to correctly assess your needs as a family. With the proper care and treatment, your child can have the best possible outcomes.