When it comes to choosing a pediatrician for your child, quality is key.  This will be the caretaker of your son or daughter until high school graduation, so it’s important that you pick a doctor that you trust and respect.  It is also key that you choose a pediatrician who’s views are aligned with yours, as they will often offer parenting advice when appropriate.  Take the following steps to ensure a good fit:

Start your search early

There’s no reason to waste time searching for doctor “right” – start when you’re still pregnant!  Get recommendations from friends and research on your own. Take personalities into account; a pediatrician that’s great for Jane because she likes doctors who give it to her straight may not be great for you, who needs someone with a bit more sensitivity.

Always request an interview with a pediatrician before having your child become his/her patient, and come up with a list of questions to ask.  You can find a good starter list of questions at Baby Resource.  In addition, check out physician rating/info sites like HealthGrades and RevolutionHealth.

Make sure the pediatrician is board certified

Double check that the pediatrician is a licensed physician, one who keeps up with his or her boards and tests. Do a quick internet search to find out, and if you’re having trouble, call local agencies to further investigate.  The American Academy of Pediatrics, an organization of board-certified pediatricians, is known for having top notch children’s doctors as its members. If a pediatrician is certified by the board, he/she will have will have graduated from medical school after four years, received three years of training in pediatrics as a pediatric resident, and passed the American Board of Pediatrics written examination.

Ask your obstetrician

One of the easiest ways to find a good pediatrician is through a referral from your obstetrician.  Obstetricians and pediatricians have frequent interaction during and after a delivery to oversee the care of both the mother and child – so get their expect opinion before making a decision.

Trust your gut

Like any other decision in life, your gut will lead you to the right answer.  Got the impression that the pediatrician genuinely cares about his/her patients?  You’re probably right.  Feel like he/she is a bit closed off and reserved?  Take that impression into consideration when you make your selection.  Also, take the time to evaluate the nurses in the office as well.

Check your insurance 

Last but not least, make sure the pediatrician you choose is covered by your health insurance or you’re going to be facing some pretty hefty bills!