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Finding the right pediatrician for your kids can be tricky. The doctor you choose for your child must be at the right location, offering the right services, at the right hours to fit in your busy schedule. It’s an important decision, and one that you should not make lightly. Many pediatric practices will let you set up an appointment to meet a doctor before you bring your child for the first appointment. The primary care doctors at Children’s National Primary Care Center at THEARC offer a few pointers to consider when choosing kids’ pediatricians:

A pediatrician should always ask questions about your child’s general health, health history, and growth and development. A really great pediatrician also checks in on his or her school performance, emotional health, and general safety questions about home hazards, sleep positions, and car seats, for example.

Convenience. Is the doctor’s location convenient for you? What services are available so you don’t need to make multiple stops — dental check-ups, prescription refills, sick or urgent care visits. Make sure the location offers flu shots and other vaccinations on site.

Know the hours of operation and how they work for your schedule. If you need early morning, late evening, or weekend appointments, be sure the provider you choose has that option. If you have to take off of work for routine check-ups, keeping the appointments can be hard. Ask if the office offers medical advice by phone or video.

Do you and your child feel comfortable with your care provider? Be sure that any care provider you take your child to creates an environment where both you and your child feel safe enough to ask questions and talk about worries. This is especially important for parents of teens — find a doctor whom your teen might feel comfortable asking sensitive personal questions.

Check to see if the pediatrician is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). If so, the doctor is board certified in pediatric medicine and keeps up to date on current medical knowledge in the field.

Soon, parents and families in Ward 8 will have even more high quality options for kids’ primary care. Children’s National Health System’s Primary Care Center at THEARC will be expanding its location in early 2018, which means more access to the kind of care and expertise that every parent wants for their kids. THEARC location will offer services such as dental care, urgent care, vaccinations, and mental health services in one location, with early morning, late evening, and even weekend hours to meet the needs of more busy families.

The single most important thing for parents to remember when searching for a pediatrician is to trust your gut. You’ll know when you find the practice that works for you and your child.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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