How to Choose a Pediatrician

Choosing a doctor for your child is one of the most important decisions you will make. You can find many guides to finding a pediatrician online, in addition to talking to other parents and people in your area.

How to Find a Pediatrician?

  • Search online. A good starting point is Mercy’s Find a Doctor online search. Look for pediatricians near you and review their patient ratings and comments.
  • Get recommendations. Ask your family and friends who they take their kids to see. Do they like the doctor? Does the child?

What Questions Should Parents Ask When Choosing a Pediatrician? 

  • Does the doctor prescribe an antibiotic for every single illness? If so, cross the doctor off the list. Many pediatric illnesses are the result of viruses, which don’t need an antibiotic.
  • Does the pediatrician take time to educate the parent and the patient? What about disease prevention? Is child development (and growth) important? The answers to all of these questions should be “YES.”
  • Does the doctor listen? Does he/she try to get to know you and your child (on a deeper level than what’s on the computer screen)? Is he/she “kid-friendly”?
  • Ask how prescription refills, phone triage questions and appointment scheduling (and rescheduling) are handled.

What to Ask a Pediatrician in an Interview?

  • Ask to tour the office and meet the doctor(s) and staff.
  • Ask the doctor what his/her philosophy is regarding treating patients. Doctors should be practicing “evidence-based medicine.” Find out what the doctor’s strengths and special interests are within pediatrics.
  • You will want to connect with your child’s doctor. It helps to try to find someone who will connect with your child, too. You want the relationship to be a partnership.

  • Find out the doctor’s availability. Is it important to you to have a doctor who admits to the hospital or has weekend, evening or holiday hours?
  • Find out the doctor’s typical weekly schedule. If you can’t ever get in to see the doctor, that’s a problem. Who else is in the call group? Are you comfortable seeing another doctor within the group?
  • Make sure you won’t have to wait a week if your child has a fever. Most pediatricians offer same-day appointments for acute illnesses, especially for babies and young children.

Each family has different needs. Find one who’s your best fit and who you feel comfortable to guide you along the way.

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