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Choosing Your Child's Healthcare Provider

Babies and children are not just small adults—their healthcare needs are different. So, it's important to find a healthcare professional that can provide specialized care. As a baby grows and develops, a healthcare provider is essential for routine care as well as illnesses or injuries. A pediatrician, family practice healthcare provider, physician's assistant, family nurse practitioner, or pediatric nurse practitioner can be your baby's primary care provider. The medical specialty dealing with children is called pediatrics.

What care does a primary care provider give?

These providers may care for children from the time they are newborns until 21 years of age.

They provide:

  • Well child care

  • Preventive health including immunizations and screening

  • Support

  • Education

  • Guidance for caregivers

  • Care for illnesses and injuries

  • Referrals to specialists as needed

Choosing a healthcare provider

Choosing a provider for your child is an important part of preparing for a new baby. There are many things to consider from training and experience to their office location, hours, and routines.

Finding a provider is not hard, but you need to start as soon as possible. You can ask the healthcare professional who delivered your baby for names, and talk with other parents about their provider. It's often a good idea to meet with 2 or 3 prospective providers before your baby is born. Many healthcare providers offer a special time for parents to come and visit the office, learn about the providers and staff, and ask questions. There may or may not be a charge for this visit.

Listed below are some things to consider when choosing a healthcare provider:

Location

Questions about the office location include the following: 

  • Is the office near your home or pla