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What is a Pediatrician?

A pediatrician is medical doctor who manages the physical, behavioral, and mental health of children from birth until age 21. A pediatrician is trained to diagnose and treat a broad range of childhood illnesses from minor health problems to serious diseases.  

Pediatricians have graduated from medical school and completed a three-year residency program in pediatrics. A board-certified pediatrician has passed rigorous exams given by the American Board of Pediatrics.  To remain certified, pediatricians have to meet regular continuing education requirements.

Your pediatrician will see your child many times from birth to age 2 and annually from age 2 to age 5 for "well-child visits." After age 5, your pediatrician will likely continue to see your child every year for annual checkups. Your pediatrician is also the first person to call whenever your child is sick. In caring for your child, a pediatrician will:
  • Do physical exams.
  • Give your child recommended immunizations.
  • Make sure your child is meeting developmental milestones in growth, behavior, and skills.
  • Diagnose and treat your child's illnesses, infections, injuries, and other health problems.
  • Give you information about your child's health, safety, nutrition, and fitness needs.
  • Answer your questions about your child's growth and development.
  • Refer to and collaborate with specialists should your child need care beyond the pediatrician's expertise.
WebMD Medical Reference