There are people in this day and age who still go to a general practitioner for any ailment that they or their family may have. If it’s a mild case of a running nose or a slight fever, that may be a good idea. But it is important to go to specialists for more specific ailments. The same way it is important to take your child to a pediatrician and not to a general practitioner for their checkups, even if they are routine. This is because pediatricians have more experience working with children and will notice certain symptoms and can diagnose illnesses more effectively than a general practitioner.
In a nutshell, pediatricians will take care of the physical, emotional, and social health of infants, pre adolescents, pre teens, and young adults. Many people stop seeing pediatricians once they’re around 16 but according to health definitions pediatricians can look after the welfare of children from birth to 21 years. They have been trained in the assessment, prevention, management and detection of the mental, physical, developmental, and social problems that children may face.
What are the dangers that face children?
The whole world is a dangerous place to an infant. From the safety of their mother’s womb, they have been thrown into a world of germs and viruses. They need good care. Infants are susceptible to a variety of illnesses. There are many immunizations that protect children from these illnesses. The pediatrician will administer these immunizations and keep a record of them, and make sure the correct prevention is given at the correct time.
As infants grow into toddlers, they start playing with other children. The spectrum of illnesses that they can be exposed to is much more. There may also be cuts and bruises, falls and breaks that need tending to.
Up to the age of nine or ten, children will still be susceptible to infections more easily than adults. Some children might show signs of developmental problems which may be recognized in school. A pediatrician will be able to help the child and the families cope with dealing with these problems. There may be children who still cling on to child like behavior, are still bed wetting etc. These may be related to some kind of mental or social problems that the child may be facing at home or school. Obesity is rising in the country and it is important that your child is eating healthy food and leading a healthy lifestyle.
The teenage years can be very trying for many children. Their immunity levels may have gone up as they grow older and therefore their susceptibility to infections may have gone down. But there are whole host of new problems that face teenagers. Problems in school, sex education, bullying in schools etc are among the many issues that children need help dealing with. Their pediatrician will be someone they are familiar with and someone they trust. What they do not want to tell their families, they may find easier to tell an outsider they trust.
As you can see, a pediatrician’s role in a child’s life doesn’t stop at infancy. They need to be a part of the child’s life for a long time. The pediatrician will know the history of your child, from all the illnesses they have had, to all the issues they have had to deal with. It is important therefore to make a pediatric check up a regular routine in your child’s life. If you do that, illnesses and other problems can be detected early on and help given.
Make time for the pediatrician!