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Finding a qualified, amicable pediatrician in your area to care for your children can be a rather daunting task of utmost importance to your family and your child. Given the recent changes in medical care policies throughout the US, understanding which pediatricians are available to you, at what cost, has become an even more confusing process.

There are a few ways to guarantee that your child is getting the best possible care available to them, however. Ensuring that you find a good pediatrician in your area is possible but does require a bit of footwork by the parent in both formal and informal categories.

Consult the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)

The American Academy of Pediatrics is as concerned as parents about guaranteeing that children receive the best possible care available to them. To these ends, the AAP website (www.aap.org) offers an array of information concerning child health and even has a system to search for pediatricians in your area that are Fellows of the American Academy of Pediatrics (FAAPs), meaning they are Board certified, are committed to lifelong learning, are advocates for families and children, and are the most up to date on child health as possible.

FAAPs are your best shot at finding the most qualified pediatricians available because they are backed by the national Academy and must pass rigorous standards to join the Academy. Good pediatricians in your area can be found by zip code or country, language, and specialization at www.aap.org/referral/.

Meet the Pediatrician

Unfortunately, even if a pediatrician is qualified and respected, they may not be the right fit for you or your child. It is important that you and your family are able to have a comfortable relationship with your pediatrician, allowing you to trust their advice and diagnosis and feel that your child is being well taken care of.

The best way to make sure you and your pediatrician have the right sort of connection is by visiting the doctor for a consultation before making any longer term arrangements for treatment or care with the doctor or their practice.These consultations might not be covered by your insurance, so be careful, but the bit of extra cash spent on making sure your pediatrician listens to your concerns and makes you and your child feel at ease is priceless.

The AAP recommends that you draft a list of questions before meeting with your potential pediatrician so that you avoid missing any important areas of concern. Some questions that might be important to you include:

  • What is your history as a pediatrician? How long have you been practicing?
  • Do you have a specialty and what does this mean for your time allotted to general consultations?
  • How can I reach you during an emergency or after regular office hours?
  • If you are unreachable, who will be in charge of caring for my child?
  • If I have a minor question or concern, how is it best to reach you?
  • Will my child be able to see you for both check-ups and problems?
  • Are there walk-in hours?
  • How long does it normally take to schedule an appointment and have my child seen?
  • Are there separate waiting rooms for sick and well children (to avoid the spreading of illnesses)?
  • Do you prefer to use more homeopathic or chemical forms of medical intervention?

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These are only some of the potential questions that may be important to you and your family when finding a good pediatrician, but make sure to list your priorities and have them addressed during this initial consultation. If the doctor is too busy or impatient to discuss these concerns with you, such a response is important to take into account in your pediatrician choice.

See http://www.webmd.com/baby/shopping-for-a-pediatrician for further suggestions.

Talk to Other Parents

Other parents are one of your best resources for scoping out the pediatrician scene in your area. You can of course look for recommendations from friends, but also try to hit up fellow parents at the playground or while picking up your children from school. Most parents are happy to share both positive and negative experiences with pediatricians with others.

If you would like to try a pediatrician that has not been vouched for, you can always try to speak with parents in the waiting room of the doctor’s office, or, if nothing else, at least observe how these returning  parents are welcomed by the staff and doctor, how trepidatious the child is about going into the doctor’s office, etc. Such subtle observations can be telltale signs of a good pediatrician.

Finding a good pediatrician is easier than it may seem with a bit of research in both formal and informal channels. Use the American Academy of Pediatrics for a first reference for good pediatricians in your area and try to talk with other parents who might have an idea of which pediatrician is your best choice – you can’t fail!