Strictly speaking, a pediatrician is a doctor who specialises in the care of infants and young children. This means that if ever your child seems to encounter a particularly nasty illness or complaint, then the doctor you take them to will most likely be a pediatrician. Likewise, it will most likely be a pediatrician who advises you on the sorts of medicine, treatment and parenting techniques you should use to raise a healthy, well-adjusted child. However, despite being so central to the general well-being of children, there nevertheless exists many myths, rumours and half-truths about pediatrics and what the practice entails.
Perhaps this is unsurprising to some – we do live in an age where access to the internet means unfettered access to all kinds of information and misinformation about anything and everything.
While you’re free to take what we tell you with a pinch of salt, and such an attitude towards what you read online is to be commended, here are a few surprising facts about pediatrics you probably didn’t even realize until now.
Pediatrics Has a Cut off Age
After over a decade and a half of visiting the same pediatrician whenever your child has a complaint, it may come as something of a shock when, one day, the doctor suddenly refers you to someone completely new. This is because pediatric doctors have a point where they can no longer see a patient anymore. While this may be expected from the fact that the doctor specializes in treating children, the point at which a patient is no longer considered a child is not always so obvious.
In general, a pediatric clinic will stop seeing a patient at around 16 years of age, after which they’re considered suitable to seek out their own medical advice independently. Instead, they will refer the patient to another doctor.
Pediatrics Tend to be Proactive
While a pediatrician will, of course, treat a child once they’ve fallen ill or become injured, they try to maintain a more proactive and preventive approach. This will mean things such as keeping up to date with vaccinations, making sure the child has a balanced diet and providing advice about how to prevent accidents and injuries.
If the pediatrician does give you advice about the health and safety of your child, we recommend that you take it into serious consideration. While you shouldn’t necessarily mindless follow everything they say, they are speaking as experienced professionals with an interest in your child’s health and happiness. If they recommend a course of action, it’s a good idea to take it.
You Can Select a Pediatrician
If you’re expecting a child or you’re planning to adopt, you can choose which pediatrician you will go to before the child’s arrival. If anything, being choosy about your child’s doctor is a good practice, as you can be more assured that the doctor is one you want treating your child.
Before deciding on a pediatric clinic, take your time to examine all your available options. Most clinics will usually allow you a free consultation meeting with the doctor in question, so take this opportunity to ask questions and gauge how they may perform as a family doctor.
Pediatrics is not For Minor Cases
If your child suffers a grazed knee or a cold, then you don’t take them to the pediatric clinic, even if the child is very young. That’s more the purview of a GP. They’re more suitable for the general day-to-day illness and accidents that a child may encounter, and you’ll only ever encounter a pediatric if the problem is chronic or particularly serious. As such, if your child is running a fever or a particularly nasty cough, call your GP first. If the injury or illness is more severe, that would be when you’d want to head to a pediatric urgent care center like Night Lite.
Christian Mills is a freelance writer and family man who contributes articles and insights into issues affecting families and life in the home.
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