Checklist: Choose the Right Pediatrician

Questions you should ask the doctor

How long have you been in practice?
If you don't have this information already, this would be the time to ask.

What is your childcare philosophy?
Talk to him about breastfeeding, circumcision, alternative medicine, vaccinations, sleep and discipline issues.

Do you have children?
It may be comforting to know if your doctor has children the same gender.

Are you part of a group practice?
If you go with a doctor in a solo practice, find out who covers when he's away. If he's part of a group practice, ask about the background of the other doctors. Some practices have pediatric nurse practitioners. They are fully trained nurses often with an MA and specialized training. Physician assistants are not nurses. They have college degrees and two years of physician assistant training.

How long does a typical check-up last?
Ideally, at least 20 minutes.

What are the office hours?

How are emergencies handled?
Some offices accommodate same-day walk-in visits. Ask how after-hours emergencies and questions are handled.

Is there a call-in policy?
Some pediatricians have a specific call-in period each day. In some practices, a nurse answers routine questions. Find out how such phone calls are taken and if there is a charge.

Do you make house calls?

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