Pediatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents from newborn to age 21. The American Academy of Pediatrics has defined what a pediatrician is for those who are confused about the difference between pediatricians and other doctors, “Pediatricians are graduates of 4 year medical schools with 3 additional years of residency training solely in pediatrics.”
This means they are doctors with at least 3 years of supervised training where they acquire the skills to treat a broad range of afflictions from basic childhood illness to the most serious of diseases. Some pediatricians may also have additional training in subspecialties like neonatal care, child cardiology, or other special problems.
Pediatrics differs from adult medicine in many respects. The smaller body of an infant is substantially different physiologically from that of an adult. Congenital defects, immunology, and a host of other issues are unique to the realm of pediatrics. Issues revolving around infectious diseases and immunizations are also dealt with primarily by pediatricians. Put simply, treating a child is not like treating a miniature adult.
A pediatrician is a child's physician who provides preventive health maintenance for healthy children and medical care for children who are acutely or chronically ill. Pediatricians manage the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of their patients, in every stage of development, in good health or in illness. Pediatricians are not only concerned with the physical well-being, they also are involved with the prevention, early detection, and management of other problems that affect children and adolescents including: Behavioral difficulties, Developmental disorders, Functional Problems, Social Stresses, Depression or Anxiety Disorders.
Childhood is the period of greatest growth and development of the various organ systems in the body, so choosing the right doctor to care for your child is important.
A pediatrician can be a vital part of your life. She/he can be a friend and guide as you embark on the difficult job of parenthood.
Beyond the usual prescriptions and shots, your pediatrician should be giving you advice on your child’s nutrition, behavior, upbringing, development, and growth. Anything about children you want to know. Never feel any question or topic is “silly”. No one knows everything about babies and children, and pediatricians welcome questions and suggestions as ways to teach, and learn from, their patients and their parents.
A good pediatrician should also be warm, compassionate, and open minded to your thoughts and feelings, and share similar views.