Pediatrician: how and when to choose the children's doctor


  • 1 Choose the pediatrician
  • 2 What the pediatrician does
  • 3 Availability of the pediatrician
  • 4 Other criteria for choosing a pediatrician

A decision that almost always distresses mum and dad when their children arrive involves the pediatrician, a trusted and reference doctor that every child must have up to the age of six, age at which you can opt for the adult general practitioner . But how do you know if it's the right one?

Choose the pediatrician

Parents can choose it from those available on the list (in the reference health district) and keep it until the child is fourteen years old, that is, until the automatic passage from the pediatrician to the family doctor.

The choice can be made at any time after registration in the Tax Registry, in the offices of the ASL of residence of the newborn by bringing an identity document (of mom, dad or a person in charge), the child's tax code, the certificate (or self-certification) of birth, and the name of the pediatrician you want from those available.

The child will then be automatically enrolled in the National Health Service and will be assigned a personal health code which will also include the indication of the pediatrician. If the child is not an only child, the parents can indicate the same doctor as the other children, this also in derogation of the maximum limit - 800 children per pediatrician - and of course if they are all part of the same family unit at the registry office.

In special cases, such as a disability problem or a chronic illness, the pediatrician can be maintained until the child's 16th year of age.

What the pediatrician does

The pediatrician has a complex role because not only must he get in tune with his parents and win their trust, but he acts following a very broad objective: health education. Therefore, the work that a good specialist will carry out, helping mum and dad in building and managing the relationship with the child, will affect various areas, not just illnesses. It will talk about prevention, it will control the growth and neurological development of the baby, it will be a real support for the parents.

Among the main tasks, also that of providing specific information on vaccinations and correct lifestyles. In addition, the following are part of the pediatrician's duties: 

  • outpatient and home visits for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. 
  • Certifications for the purposes of admission to nursery schools and readmission to nursery school, compulsory school and upper secondary school, and for the purpose of the parent's abstention from work following a child's illness. 
  • The certification of state of good health for the performance of non-competitive sports activities. 
  • The request for specialist investigations, proposals for hospitalization and spa treatments.

Availability of the pediatrician

The opening hours and days of the clinics are obviously at the discretion of the pediatrician. The home visit is guaranteed within the same day if the request arrives by 10am. Conversely, the doctor will come home by 12am the following day. Different speech for the urgent visit which is carried out as soon as possible. On Saturdays, the pediatrician visits the home by 10 am.

From 20 pm to 8 am on weekdays or from 10 am on Saturday (or the day before holiday) to 8 am on Monday (or on the following working day) the medical guard is active. There are pediatricians who are still available to answer calls or messages even if they are "off duty", while others are more strict. This is also a personal choice.

Other criteria for choosing a pediatrician

Finally, in choosing such a precious doctor, even the most practical and organizational aspects cannot be excluded: for example, is the office close to home, is it convenient to reach both by car and by public transport? Are there architectural barriers?

And if both parents work, it is also good to check the surgery hours and try to understand the doctor's all-round availability, i.e. if you can find him on the phone outside the reference hours and / or if he answers questions asked by email.

As with all things, the role of word of mouth and the Internet should not be underestimated. In particular, if at the first experience, new parents often rely on what is suggested to them by friends who already have older children. It may be beneficial to ask them personal questions about feelings and behaviors not related to the disease itself. For example, if the pediatrician is available to listen, if he is up-to-date, if the children are comfortable with him / her, if he transmits positive emotions.

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