The Family Doctor: The Healthcare Professionals You Need to Know About For Your Children

When you’re expecting or parenting, it can be easy to forget that not everyone shares your health knowledge or willingness to seek it out. The good news is that you don’t need to be a doctor to take care of your children, and there are several lay healthcare professionals you can turn to for help.

Healthcare professionals like family doctors, pediatricians, and midwives can help you and your children stay healthy. They specialize in caring for children and families, and they can be great resources and sources of advice. Even better, many of these professionals are also excellent sources of information about all aspects of parenting, from breastfeeding and potty training to ADHD and sleep problems.

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Pediatricians

Many parents have the wrong idea about what a pediatrician does. They commonly think of the doctor as a child’s doctor when most pediatricians also care for infants, children, and adolescents. A pediatrician specializes in the health and development of babies, children, and teens and is typically board-certified in pediatrics. 

Much like family doctors, many of these doctors are also general practitioners who have additional training in the care of children. They may also have additional expertise in a particular area, such as pediatric sleep studies or adolescent health. 

Midwives

A midwife is a medical professional who provides prenatal care, assists with childbirth, and may even take care of your baby’s immunizations. 

Like pediatricians and family doctors, midwives are often also trained in other medical fields to provide a more rounded view of your healthcare.

Registered Nurses

Registered nurses, also called RNs, can help with all sorts of medical issues, from caring for a newborn baby to providing care for an adult. They typically have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and after graduating, they complete graduate nursing education programs to become board-certified. 

Like medical doctors, RNs can perform many medical procedures, but they are not well suited to diagnose illness. That’s why it’s so important to work with a family doctor or other specialist for sick visits and routine checkups.

Psychologists

A psychologist can provide a meaningful, unbiased perspective on your child’s behavior and emotional well-being. This can be tremendously helpful for parents who are unsure how to respond to their child’s behavior or worry their child is experiencing emotional problems. 

Psychologists can help you, and your child, understand your options and make the best decisions possible. 

Social Workers

A social worker can help you and your family through some difficult times. Although they are not health care providers, social workers are trained to help families deal with issues that arise from various issues, including trauma, substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental health. In many ways, a social worker is a health professional who specializes in helping people deal with the health implications of an issue outside of their area of expertise.

Pediatric Dentists

A pediatric dentist is a medical doctor who specializes in dental health in infants, children, and adolescents. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry defines a pediatric dentist as someone who “has a degree in dental medicine, has completed one to two years of specialized training in pediatric dentistry, and is certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry.” 

Like other medical professionals, the best way to find a pediatric dentist is through recommendations from friends, family, and healthcare providers you trust. Ensure you choose a professional with a good reputation for practicing pediatric dentistry.

Emergency Responders And Child Care Providers

Kids get up to all sorts. And sometimes, that means having to contact emergency care. If you work as a firefighter, police officer, or other types of emergency responder, you may be interested to know that many pediatricians are also certified by the American Academy of Pediatrics as emergency responders. In addition to treating children, these doctors can also provide emergency medical services, including CPR and even Advanced Life Support (ALS) services.

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