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About Pediatricians

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What is a pediatrician?


A pediatrician is a primary care physician specializing in treating and caring for infants, children, and adolescents. These providers will oversee a child’s mental and physical development as they grow up while providing medical care when needed. After the age of 18, young adults will generally start to see a family medicine provider or internist for their primary care needs.

All board-certified pediatricians have specialized education in children's health. There are also pediatricians with health care specialties - like pediatric cardiologists, dermatologists, and neurologists. These doctors are qualified to diagnose and treat acute and chronic diseases and can often offer preventative care. As fully-licensed primary care providers, pediatricians have the training and experience to treat hundreds of conditions in young people ranging in age from infancy to adolescence.

The most common conditions treated by pediatricians include:

  • The common cold/ flu
  • Sore throat/ strep throat
  • Stomach flu (gastroenteritis)
  • Bronchitis
  • Ear infections
  • Skin infections (like impetigo)
  • Conjunctivitis (pink eye)
  • Sinus infections
  • Bladder infections (UTIs)
  • Chickenpox

In addition to treating acute illnesses like those listed above, pediatricians play a key role in managing chronic conditions in children.

Chronic conditions commonly seen in children include:

  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Epilepsy
  • Obesity

Pediatricians will also track and manage a child’s development throughout their youth. In infancy, this means tracking certain measurables like weight and skeletal structure. As the child gets older, this also means diagnosing and treating developmental disorders like:

  • ADHD
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Autism
  • Dyslexia/ dysgraphia/ dyscalculia
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders
  • Aphasia (an inability to understand or express speech)

According to the CDC, nearly 1 in 6 children have some sort of developmental disability. Pediatricians manage these conditions by offering treatment options and medical advice for the family to help support the child.

What education does a pediatrician have?


Pediatricians have over a decade of training and experience. To become a pediatrician, candidates must have:

  • Completed a four-year undergraduate degree featuring pre-medical courses like biology, chemistry, physics, and calculus.
  • Completed four years of medical school with a full course load and clinical rotation experience (time spent as a member of a medical team)
  • Completed a three-year residency providing primary and intensive care for children of all ages (newborns to adolescents)

After completing their three-year residency, pediatricians can undergo a fellowship to practice a subspecialty of pediatric care. This fellowship involves specialized training in a given field, usually lasting two-six years.

Pediatric subspecialties include:

  • Neonatology (medical care for newborn infants)
  • Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics (care for children with developmental disorders)
  • Allergy & Immunology (care for allergies in children)
  • Cardiology (care for children with heart conditions)
  • Endocrinology (care for children with hormonal conditions)
  • Gastroenterology (care for children with gastrointestinal disorders)
  • Hematology/Oncology (care for children with blood disorders or cancer)
  • Orthopedics (care for children with musculoskeletal problems)
  • Nephrology (care for children with conditions related to the kidney and urinary tract)
  • Pulmonology (care for children with conditions related to the lungs and respiratory system)
  • Pediatric urology (care for children with conditions related to the urinary tract and genitals)

This is a partial list of all pediatric subspecialties.

A pediatrician has amassed at least 12-14,000 hours of educational experience and clinical training. After finishing training, most pediatricians take a board exam to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. The initials “FAAP” after the pediatrician’s name indicate that the physician is board-certified and a full AAP Fellow.

What medical services do pediatricians provide?


As primary care providers for children under 18, pediatricians perform various diagnostic, therapeutic, and preventative care procedures to improve and maintain a child's wellness.

Pediatricians:

  • Perform physical exams and wellness check-ups.
  • Give immunizations (vaccinations).
  • Conduct speech therapy.
  • Offer guidance for pain management.
  • Check for milestones in skills, behavior, and growth.
  • Answer any questions regarding your child's development.
  • Diagnose and treat diseases, including illness, infection, and injuries.

Well-child visits are one of the cornerstones of pediatric care. They help ensure that children stay healthy and allow parents to catch problems before they become serious. Pediatricians will typically check the physical growth of children, discuss immunizations, and answer questions about their health. They can also provide advice on nutrition and exercise for growing children.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the largest professional organization of pediatricians, recommends that children receive well-child visits in accordance with the following schedule:

  • Within the first week after birth (3 to 5 days old)
  • 2 weeks to 4 weeks after birth
  • 2 months old
  • 4 months old
  • 6 months old
  • 9 months old
  • 12 months old
  • 15 months old
  • 18 months old
  • 2 years old (24 months)
  • 3 years old
  • 4 years old

After their second birthday (24 months old), it is recommended that a child gets a well-child visit (or a routine check-up) every year. This schedule extends into adulthood.

What is the difference between a pediatrician and a family care provider?


Pediatricians are medical doctors who specialize in caring for children from infancy through adolescence. They provide preventive health care, diagnose and treat illnesses, and manage chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes. Pediatricians focus exclusively on their young patients' physical, mental, and emotional health.

On the other hand, family care doctors–or family care providers–are general practitioners who can provide primary medical care for all family members regardless of age or gender. In addition, they offer preventive services such as annual check-ups, vaccinations, and screenings for diseases like cancer or heart disease, as well as diagnosis and treatment for acute illnesses like colds or flu.

Both pediatricians and family doctors are primary care providers, meaning they diagnose and treat various medical conditions. Family care providers can provide pediatric care, but pediatric care is best for young people under 18.

How do I book a pediatric appointment?


Sesame makes finding and booking a pediatric appointment for your child more accessible than ever. You can find in-person and online pediatrician appointments in New York City, often with same-day availability.
Here’s how to book an appointment:

  • Search “Pediatrician” in Sesame’s search bar
  • Browse the list of available providers near you
  • Choose between video and in-person services
  • Pick a time that works best for your schedule
  • Book your visit!

Yep, it’s easy. Sesame directly connects you with providers in your area. No insurance networks to worry about. Simply book your visit, pay upfront, and get great care.

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