9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Pediatrician

You’re 8-months pregnant, ticking through the enormous to-do list you created and you’ve come to the next entry – Find a Pediatrician. Easy enough, right? There are hundreds upon hundreds of qualified pediatricians in New York City, but I had to start somewhere with a list of questions and priorities for my family. The questions to ask when choosing a pediatrician are meant to guide you towards making a decision – only you can choose how important each factor is.

9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Pediatrician

9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Pediatrician

1. Office hours
What are the office hours? This is important – private offices can vary greatly with their opening and closing times. Additionally, some offices close for a lunch break that could coincide with yours. My pediatrician’s office opens at 9am, a little late if you have a sick baby up at 6am. In weighing all of my options however, this time gap hasn’t proved to be a huge problem over the past two years.

2. Location
How far is the office? My rule of thumb is this – if you can’t see a pediatrician within a 30 minute commute, it’s to far {this is not including specialists}. I had to visit the doctor twice in one day with my daughter last year, a long commute would have made that nearly impossible.

3. Hospital visits
Does the pediatrician make hospital visits? The tide is changing on this one, a lot of pediatricians do not make regular hospital calls anymore.

4. Vaccination schedule
Do you have strong feeling towards vaccinations – either for or against? Talk to the pediatrician about this before joining, it could save you a lot of headaches down the road. 

5. After hours/on-call procedure
What are the after hours/on-call procedures? Is a doctor always on-call, do they use a call center, or partner with another practice? My practice uses all of the above – it hasn’t been a problem, but it was a little strange speaking to a stranger in the middle of the night when my daughter was sick. 

6. Weekend hours
Does the office have weekend hours? If you are a full-time working parent, this might prove to be an important factor. Some offices have “sick” hours on the weekend and some have none at all – mine does not and it hasn’t been a problem for us.

7. General philosophy
What is the general philosophy of the pediatrician? Are they pro-breastfeeding or encourage the Cry-It-Out method? I met with a famous French pediatrician who had really strong opinions about child rearing – it all depends on what you are seeking in a pediatrician. 

8. Email
Does your pediatrician accept emails? This feature is fairly new in most practices, but it’s pretty nice for those spontaneous first-time-mom questions.

9. Insurance
This is another big one, does your pediatrician take your insurance? When factoring in insurance, keep in mind that you will need to see a pediatrician a TON the first year – it can add up.

9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Pediatrician

Are there any additional questions that helped you make the decision when searching for a pediatrician?



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One Response to 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Pediatrician

  1. Aubrey January 21, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

    Fantastic post! I was totally bewildered when I chose my kids’ pediatrician. It’s worked out just fine, but I wish I’d had these tips to go by. 🙂 Pinning it now.

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