Parents

Parents

Welcome to the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (PA AAP) Parents page! Parents play a key role in the PA AAP – as advocates for their child's health and well being and as partners with pediatricians in the care of their child. The national American Academy of Pediatrics maintains a website of carefully reviewed, quality information for parents at www.healthychildren.org

On this page you will find some information about choosing a pediatrician and some important links to help you find additional Pennsylvania-specific information.

Why choose a pediatrician?

A pediatrician is a physician that focuses on the physical, emotional, developmental and social issues that affect infants, children and young adults from birth to 21 years of age. 

Their education after medical school involves at least three or more years of hands on training followed by a comprehensive examination of their knowledge and skill given by the American Board of Pediatrics.

It is important to find the right pediatrician for your child. Here are some helpful hints to guide you:

  • Ask other doctors that you know along with family, friends and/or workers who they would recommend.
  • Contact a nearby hospital, medical school or local medical society for a list of pediatricians.
  • Contact your health insurance carrier for a list of pediatricians in its network. 
  • Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics Physician Referral at www.aap.org/referral

Visit the pediatric office you are considering.

Ask about: 

  • Office hours
  • Emergency coverage
  • Who screens phone calls
  • Is there an after-hours answering service? Is this service tied into a university or children’s hospital?
  • How are billing, insurance claims and payment for services handled?

Physician information:

  • What is his/her background?
  • Does he/she have a subspecialty or pediatric area of interest?
  • Is he/she board certified.
  • What hospital is he/she affiliated?
  • Who is/are the pediatrician/s that will care for your child if the doctor is not available?
  • You can perform a quick background check on any pediatrician by contacting the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) to see if there have been any serious disciplinary actions or professional peer reviews against a pediatrician. There is a small fee for this service. The FSMB website (www.fsmb.org) also has links to your state board.

Immunization

Why should I immunize my child?
Immunizations are a valuable tool in the prevention and spread of disease. We have achieved, here in the U.S. record or near record low levels of vaccine preventable childhood diseases (Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps, Pertussis, etc.) We have reached this goal in part by making sure that infants and children receive their recommended immunizations in a timely fashion.

Websites you should visit

Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Vaccine Education Center
http://www.chop.edu/service/vaccine-education-center/home.html

PA School Immunization Requirements
http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt/community/immunizations/14141/school_children_immunizations/557995

Get Active! Find a park and have family fun outdoors: PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/

Eat Healthy!
http://www.choosemyplate.gov/

Choosing Quality Child Care
http://papromiseforchildren.com/choose-a-quality-program/