When most people think about taking their child to the pediatrician’s office, they think of it in the context of immunizations on one end of the spectrum, and runny noses and fever on the other end. However, any pediatrician can tell you that there are a whole lot of important things in between. A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in child health, and is a valuable resource in ensuring that your child reaches their full potential on their journey from infancy to adulthood.
The most obvious role of a pediatrician is attending to your child’s physical health. This involves the diagnosis and management of both chronic and acute illnesses as well as comprehensive child care from infancy all the way up to age 21. Physical health maintenance includes monitoring growth parameters, achievement of developmental milestones, and ensuring that your child has adequate and appropriate nutrition. The pediatrician is tasked with administering vaccines to protect against illnesses that can impede a child’s physical growth, managing chronic illnesses like asthma, sickle cell, and diabetes, which can interfere with a child’s growth potential, and screening for anemia, hearing and vision impairments that can interfere with their cognitive development.
What many parents don’t realize is that pediatricians are concerned with the entire spectrum of child health – physical, mental, social, and emotional. A child’s mental, social, and emotional health can have a severe impact on their physical well-being. Anxiety can present itself as chronic abdominal pain, bedwetting, or headaches. Depression can present in the form of appetite changes, behavioral changes, poor school performance, and self-harming behavior. Because pediatricians are aware of the mind-body connection, we are trained to look for signs that parents may miss. The pediatrician’s office provides a safe space for the patient and doctor to address concerns about everything from bullying to abuse to body image issues, which can all ultimately severely impact their physical health.
A pediatrician is a doctor who is specially trained in managing all aspects of child health. Developing a relationship with your child’s pediatrician gives them an opportunity to thrive on their journey to adulthood. Children and teens should see their pediatrician at least once a year to ensure their overall health and well-being. If it’s been a while since you’ve taken your child to the pediatrician, make an appointment today. We’re here to help you raise happy and healthy kids.
• Dr. Tamarra Moss is a pediatrician committed to helping you raise happy and healthy kids. You can find her at Dr. Carlos Thomas & Pediatric Associates in Nassau, Lucayan Medical Center in Grand Bahama, or on Instagram @mykidsdoc242.