Pediatricians are specially trained medical doctors who work with babies, infants, adolescents, and young adults.
Children experience rapid physical, emotional, and behavioral changes as they grow up. Children and teenagers have unique medical needs that might fall outside the expertise of doctors who primarily treat adults.
Continue reading to learn more about pediatricians, including what they do, who they treat, and the qualifications required to become a pediatrician. This article also provides a list of pediatric subspecialties.
What is a pediatrician?
A pediatrician is a medical doctor who specializes in treating infants, children, adolescents, and young adults. Pediatric care can begin before conception and continue through pregnancy.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, setting an upper age limit for pediatric care is not straightforward. The Academy discourage people from setting age limits on pediatric care, as this will depend on an individual’s physical and mental needs.
Children undergo rapid physical and mental changes as they grow. Pediatricians understand this fact and assess a child’s health status based on the normal ranges for their age.
Pediatricians can help diagnose medical conditions in children. Depending on the condition, parents or caregivers may take their children to a primary care pediatrician or a pediatric specialist.
Other pediatricians specialize in treating specific medical conditions or age ranges. Examples of pediatric subspecialties include the following:
Adolescent medicine specialists :- focus on care during adolescence, around 11 to 21 years old.
Critical care pediatricians :- facilitate teams of healthcare professionals who treat children in unstable or critical health situations. These pediatricians usually work in hospital-based intensive care units.
Developmental behavioral pediatricians :- evaluate the behavioral development of children and teens. Specialists in this field diagnose and treat developmental, learning, and behavioral problems in young people.
Child abuse pediatricians :- possess specialized training, experience, and skills necessary for evaluating if a child may have experienced abuse or neglect.
Pediatric oncologists :- specialize in diagnosing and treating different types of cancer in children.
Pediatric cardiologists :- diagnose and treat various heart conditions in children. Many pediatric cardiologists work closely with pediatric heart surgeons when deciding the best treatment strategies.
Pediatric pulmonologists :- diagnose, treat, and manage children who have breathing problems and lung diseases.
Pediatric rheumatologists :- treat children and adolescents who have musculoskeletal disorders, such as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and chronic pain.
Pediatric nephrologists specialize :- in treating conditions that affect the urinary system, including urinary tract infections and kidney disease.
Pediatric neurologists :- treat and manage neurological disorders in children. Neurological conditions that present during childhood may persist through adulthood. Pediatric neurologists oversee their patients’ care from diagnosis through adolescence.
Neonatal-perinatal pediatricians :- provide care to infants before, during, and after birth. They also treat premature and critically ill newborns.
Pediatric gastroenterologists :- look after the health of a young person’s digestive system.
Pediatric endocrinologists specialize :- in the endocrine system and the hormones it produces. An endocrinologist may treat a variety of conditions in children, including diabetes.