To begin your search, get referrals from your obstetrician/gynecologist or nurse-midwife, other parents in the neighborhood, the public affairs department at the nearest hospital, a pediatric floor nurse at a local hospital or medical center, or by checking the pediatrician referral database at the American Academy of Pediatrics (www.aap.org).
Once you have a few recommendations, check these doctor's credentials. The American Board of Medical Specialties Web site (www.abms.org/) is a good source.Find out:
Is the pediatrician certified by the American Board of Pediatrics (AAP)?
This means the doctor passed a specialized exam in pediatrics.
Is the pediatrician a member of the AAP?
If so, the doctor will have an "FAAP" after his or her name. This means he's met established standards for providing child healthcare.
If you choose a family physician, is he certified by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM)?
Family doctors are trained to care for patients of all ages--including children--but they do not have specialized training in pediatrics.
Does the doctor have specialized training?
This is particularly important to know if you think your child will have special medical needs.
When you've narrowed your choices down to two or three doctors, you're ready to get specific questions answered. If possible, set up interviews--face-to-face meetings will give you the opportunity to get to know the doctor and his staff and to ask about office policies.