My daughter had her share of childhood infections before she turned one year old. There were times when a viral infection would just run its course, while there were a few that required hospitalization. During those times, I realized that my child’s doctor has a very important role to play in terms of managing her health.

Choosing the right doctor for your child may seem so easy, but there is actually more to it than just having someone examine your child. As your child goes through his milestones, you will be relying on his doctor for information, support, and medical care. Thus, parents need to exert some effort in finding the right doctor for a child.

You may start by coming up with a list of prospective doctors in your area. Aside from asking family and friends, you may also check lists of nearby facilities in your area. You can then begin narrowing down your list depending on your preferences.

In choosing, parents would naturally consider a doctor’s competence. Doctors for children can either be trained in pediatrics or family medicine. Pediatricians are specialists who have specialized training involving children. Family physicians on the other hand, are trained to look after the health of the entire family. You may also gather more information on the practice of your prospects, so you can better decide on whom to choose.

While it is important to consider a doctor’s capabilities, it is also wise to think about his availability. Doctors are understandably busy, but it is important that you can have a doctor whom you can easily contact, even after office hours. Learning when and when not to rush a child to the emergency department, is actually a skill that parents learn through time. And while you cannot control certain circumstances, it gives you a sense of security that in the event of emergencies, you can get in touch with someone who can help you out.

Another thing that you need to consider is the location of the doctor’s clinic. A doctor who holds practice near your home or office may be convenient. You may also want to check whether there are nearby hospitals, where the doctor has admitting privileges. While we don’t want our kids to be sick, we can never prevent certain common childhood illnesses from occurring.

After deciding whom to entrust your child’s health to, it is best that you pay the doctor a visit. Evaluate whether the process in making appointments is convenient for you. Determine the wait times for routine examinations, and for instances when your child may have an acute illness.

The facility should also have separate waiting areas for well and sick children. This is very important so that the spread of infections can be prevented. The place should also be reassuring for kids. Some wait areas are child-friendly, and they have toys, books and other materials to keep kids occupied. You also need to consider the demeanor of the staff to the children. Their presence should be comforting and reassuring to a child, so that the experience is not entirely unpleasant.

When you get to talk to the doctor, you really don’t need to take a lot of his time. Simply discuss how he usually manages the health of children in general. These should include reminders on vaccinations and well-baby check-ups. After all, your child should see the doctor not only because he is having symptoms, but measures should be taken so that illnesses can be prevented.

As for my daughter, she was able to overcome her fear with hospitals or with her doctor for that matter. Now, she has developed an admiration for the role that her doctor plays in her life. She tells me, “One day, I am going to be a doctor!” And that for me is more than enough to know, that I made the right choice.