Choosing a pediatrician can be quite a daunting task. Your child’s pediatrician will play such an important role in their life, so it is important to choose wisely. Aside from their qualifications and experience, the pediatricians personal opinions can also impact the way they run the then make a decision based on which practice best meets your needs. Here are ten important questions to ask.
- Which hospitals are you affiliated with? This is important because newborn babies need to be seen by their pediatrician at least within seven days of birth. Even though the hospital will have their own pediatrician it is good to know if your pediatrician will be there or not. This can also have an impact on deciding which hospital to deliver at.
- How flexible are your hours? If you are a working parent, you will truly value a practice that has weekend or late evening hours over a strictly 9am-5pm practice
- Do you schedule same day appointments for sick babies? No parent wants to wait several days to be seen by a doctor when their child is ill.
- Do you have a separate waiting area for sick children and healthy children coming in for wellness visits? This may not be a deal breaker but it is still good information to have on hand when deciding on which pediatrician to go with. Ideally a separate waiting area would be preferred as it reduces the chances of sick children infecting healthy children.
- How long are the wait times if I come in for a wellness visit? This is very important, you can also see for yourself how crowded the waiting room looks when you go for your consultaion. Waiting over an hour when you already have an important is definitely not a good thing.
- What is your vaccination schedule? Vaccinations are a hot topic these days and it’s good to be sure your pediatricians schedule matches your wishes for your child
- What are your opinions on breastfeeding and formula feeding. Some pediatricians are more supportive than others when it comes to feeding issues. Choosing a pediatrician who supports your feeding choices will eliminate any friction over those issues in the future
- Can you be reached outside of your business hours? Babies get sick at all hours of the day and night, sometimes it may not be serious enough for the emergency room but you definitely want to speak to a doctor. A pediatrician that can be reached outside of business hours can give great advice and even life saving tips over the phone.
- Who sees patients when you are on vacation? Pediatricians are just like everyone else they have family and friends too and are bound to days off to get stuff done or go on vacation. It is important to know what arrangements they have in place for their absence. You wouldn’t want to be stuck waiting for an appointment because their calendar is backed up because the doctor took some time off.
- What parenting methods, books or resources would you recommend? This will give you an idea of what their parenting style is and how that might influence the advice they give you for your child.
- How long does it takes to get paper work for school or daycare and is there a charge? Some practices require a week or more notice for such paper work and may or may not charge for it.
- Do you accept my insurance and what methods of payment do you take?
While on your consultaion you should also follow your intuition and pay attention to the overall appearance, cleanliness and level of professionalism of the staff. It is also best to write these questions down because it is so easy to forget to ask everything you had in mind.