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What a pediatrician can do

Pediatricians are doctors who manage the health of your child, including physical, behavior, and mental health issues. They’re trained to diagnose and treat childhood illnesses, from minor health problems to serious diseases.

Pediatricians have an education that gives them special skills to take care of your child’s health. They graduated from medical school and completed a 3-year residency program in pediatrics.

You’ll want to find one who’s also “board-certified.” That means they’ve passed rigorous exams given by the American Board of Pediatrics. To stay certified, pediatricians have to meet regular education requirements.

They’ll see your child many times from birth to age 2 and once a year from ages 2 to 5 for “well-child visits.” After age 5, your pediatrician will likely continue to see your child every year for annual checkups. They’re also the first person to call whenever your child is sick.

To take care of your child, your pediatrician will:

Do physical exams
Give your child vaccinations
Make sure she meets milestones in growth, behavior, and skills
Diagnose and treat your child’s illnesses, infections, injuries, and other health problems
Give you information about your child’s health, safety, nutrition, and fitness needs
Answer your questions about your little one’s growth and development
Refer you to specialists if they think your child needs expert care