Pediatrician vs. Family Doctor: Which Is Right for Your Family?

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From playground injuries to regular checkups, kids tend to visit the doctor more than adults. When making frequent trips to the doctor’s office, it is important to make sure you are going to a physician you and especially your kid is comfortable with.

When trying to find the best doctor for your kid, you may get confused regarding the difference between a family doctor and a paediatrician. Both accept kids as their patients, so how are they different and which one is better? Here are some insights into the differences between a family doctor and a paediatrician to help you make the right decision when choosing a family doctor for your child.

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Paediatrician vs family doctor: What’s the difference?

The main difference between a family doctor and a paediatrician is the age of the patients they treat. A family doctor may see patients of all ages, however, a paediatrician mostly sees patients who are under 18 years old. Another thing to note is that some paediatricians see patients up to 21 years of age and some family doctors do not see patients under a certain age.

While both a family doctor and a pediatrician are fully equipped to treat patients, paediatricians specialize in children. On the other hand, a family doctor is equipped to take care of a patient throughout their adult life.

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When should your child see a paediatrician?

Parents should take their infants to a paediatrician till the time they are sure their baby is healthy and has hit the key development milestone. If your child was born prematurely, has special needs, or needs certain childhood immunizations, then you must continue seeing a paediatrician.

When should your child switch to a family doctor?

There will definitely come a time when your child will have to switch to a family doctor. Also, you don’t have to wait till they turn 18 so you can switch sooner. You must ask your children if they are comfortable switching to a family doctor and if they are ready, you can go ahead with it. Ultimately, the decision to switch to a family doctor will largely depend on the health needs of your kid.

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Benefits of Seeing a Family Doctor

  • A family doctor can provide care for the entire family. A family doctor is trained to treat patients of all ages, which means you don’t have to find a new doctor for your family members.
  • They have in-depth knowledge of your family’s medical history. If multiple family members see the same doctor, the doctor will have a better understanding of the medical history of the family that will eventually help in treating your child well.
  • Going to a family doctor helps build a long-lasting patient-doctor relationship.
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Transitioning Your Child to a Family Doctor

When it comes to switching to a family doctor, it is better to start the process early, even before they turn 18. However, the exact age to make a switch will depend on your child’s health requirements but many parents begin the transition when their child is around 11-13 years of age.

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