Pediatrician vs Family Doctor: Which Is Best for Your Child?

Did you know that over 95% of children had an appointment with a doctorduring this past year? Physicians are critical to your child's care as they help treat illnesses, provide immunizations, and offer annual physicals. 

There is much debate between a pediatrician vs family doctor and which one is better for your child. While both physicians must complete medical school, their residency training differs slightly. 

For more information on the differences between the two, keep reading on. 

Pediatrician Doctor

A pediatrician is a medical doctor that completed three years of residency in pediatrics. Typically, they see children from birth up until at least age 18. 

Pediatricians focus on regular or annual check-upsfor your child including:

  1. Physical exams
  2. Immunizations
  3. Developmental milestones
  4. Educate on your child's health
  5. Refer to specialists

Many families start looking at pediatricians during their third trimester. Your pediatrician will want to see your child two to three days after they discharge home and then fairly regularly afterward. 

If you are asking yourself what age to switch from pediatrician to family doctor, then most people make the switch around this time. A pediatrician - or children's doctor - can sometimes allow you to bring your child in up until the age of 21. 

There are two main reasons that someone will see a pediatrician between the ages of 18 to 21 years old: college and chronic conditions. 

Sometimes, transitioning to college makes it difficult for finding a new doctor. Many times, these college-aged students are fluctuating between home and college life. In this instance, it makes it easier with sticking to a trusted pediatrician until they graduate or move somewhere permanent.

Developmental disorders and other chronic conditionsalso might qualify for seeing a pediatrician into adulthood. These include diagnoses like:

  1. Intellectual disabilities
  2. Congenital heart defects
  3. Sickle cell disease
  4. Cystic fibrosis
  5. Autism

Pediatricians who treat autism might see their patients for longer than the cut-off age of 21 years old. 

Family Doctor

Family doctors see it all - they treat children, adolescents, adults, and geriatrics. Some have further specialists for women's health and delivering babies. 

Essentially, they are generalists. They work at treating a variety of chronic diagnoses and offer preventive care services. Some of the other things a family doctorcan provide are:

  1. Routine check-ups
  2. Immunizations
  3. Screening
  4. Educating on lifestyle and health habits
  5. Implementing treatments

Similar to pediatricians, family doctors complete medical school and then enroll in a three or four residency program. This residency program focuses on various rotations in things like general surgery and critical care. 

Typically, if you have a condition that requires a specialist, then these doctors will refer you out to another physician. 

Pediatrician vs Family Doctor

When looking at a pediatrician or family doctor, it might be hard to know which one is best for your child. It is critical to note that both doctors can treat the needs of your child. 

However, the residency of a pediatrician solely focuses on children. This means they will have a more in-depth knowledge of diagnoses specific to a developing child. 

They can also help new mothers with breastfeeding techniques and pumping strategies. If your child has behavioral, developmental, or physical disabilities, a pediatrician would likely best fit their needs. 

Miami pediatrician can work with you and your child on developing healthy lifestyle habits. They can also address concerns relating to chronic illnesses or diseases specific to children more than a family doctor.

However, if you are wanting a doctor that can work with adults and children, then opt for a family doctor. These doctors still have training in pediatrics and can always refer you to a specialist if there are other concerns. 

You might find it less of a hassle in switching between doctors, and it gives your child the opportunity of seeing their doctor after they turn 18 years old.

Children's Specialists

There are many other types of children's doctors out there that can treat pediatric illnesses, diseases, and conditions. Some examples of specialiststhat your pediatrician or family doctor might refer to are:

  1. Neonatologist
  2. Pediatric cardiologist
  3. Pediatric endocrinologist
  4. Pediatric orthopedic surgeon
  5. Physical therapists
  6. Speech therapists
  7. Nutritionist

These specialists can offer more insight or provide unique therapy for developing children. For example, a speech therapist focusing on pediatric care can work on your child's language and development skills. 

A speech therapist working with adults might focus more on swallowing disorders or language barriers from strokes or tumors. Ultimately, you don't have to sacrifice these doctors when you see a pediatrician or family doctor. 

Keep in mind - a pediatrician might have more access and referrals to highly specialized physicians focused on pediatrics. Usually, a pediatrician is in the same building or hospital as other similar physicians. 

Your family doctor might refer you to a pediatrician first before focusing on other specialists which could delay diagnosis and treatment. Additionally, make sure that your physician accepts your insurance and any referred specialists. 

This can save you hefty expenses down the road and avoid out-of-pocket costs. 

Find Your Children's Doctor Today

Pediatricians are the go-to doctors when it comes to treating children. However, when you are looking more in-depth at a pediatrician vs family doctor, you really cannot go wrong with either option. 

Both physicians are highly specialized in caring for a broad range of illnesses. Family doctors can also see your child after they turn 18 years old, which might seem more appealing to parents. 

For help in finding the perfect doctor for your child, visit our site today and browse qualified Miami doctors.