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Pediatricians & family physicians

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A pediatrician and family medicine doctor give you options for your child’s healthcare

Regular visits with a physician are important for keeping your child healthy while growing and developing. Your options for those services include a family physician or a pediatrician. Both can advise you and recommend services to prevent or treat illness. Still, there are differences worth exploring.


A pediatrician specializes in treating children, from newborns to young adults. Much of their training focuses on health and development of the body before adulthood. The setting in a pediatrician’s office is likely to be relaxed, informal and colorful and include a kid-friendly waiting area.

 Family medicine doctors

A family medicine doctor may be a convenient choice because everyone in the family can see the same physician, regardless of age. This can save your child the trouble of changing physicians later. The arrangement also gives your doctor access to broader knowledge of your family’s medical history.

What’s the same? Expert pediatric care.

Pediatricians and family medicine doctors help their patients maintain physical, mental and emotional health. Both provide scheduled office visits that should make it easier to catch early warning signs for serious illnesses. These providers also diagnose and treat childhood conditions and can refer you to a specialist, if necessary. Routine medical services may include:

  • Physical exams
  • Vaccinations
  • Tracking milestones in growth, behavior and skills
  • Wellness education (diet, exercise, hygiene, disease prevention)
  • Care for infectious childhood diseases (cold, flu, measles, mumps, chickenpox)
  • Treatment of minor injuries

Tips for managing your family’s care

As you decide between a pediatrician and primary care doctor to look after your child, also consider other healthcare services your provider might offer. Your physician’s network may be more valuable if it includes emergency pediatric care locations or urgent care clinics. Locations for those additional services and hours of operation may help you narrow your choices.