Questions to Ask Your Child's Pediatrician

Questions to Ask Your Child's Pediatrician

A pediatrician is a very important resource for parents and caregivers. They help to keep children healthy and serve as lifelines when they get sick. In an ideal situation your child’s doctor will be there for you and your family from birth until adulthood. Develop a relationship with the pediatrician. It is important to get to know your child’s pediatrician because you will need to work together as a team over the long term. It is also essential that you understand your child’s health needs so that you can be a team player and “co-pilot” along side your pediatrician in your child’s care.

In this post, I hope to get you thinking about important questions to ask your pediatrician. Whether you are established with a pediatrician or are shopping for a new doctor, consider asking some of the questions listed below.

Ask your doctor about his or her training and qualifications:

  • Where did you complete your training?
  • Did you specialize in any particular area of medicine? (Some doctors complete their training in family practice or general pediatrics, while others also pursue additional training in specialties such as cardiology, pulmonology, infectious diseases, etc.)
  • Do you feel comfortable managing my child?

Some children have very complex medical problems or rare conditions that your pediatrician may not have encountered before. If your child has any special health care needs (common or rare), you could also ask:

  • Have you cared for other children with this condition in the past?
  • Do you currently have other children with the same diagnosis in your practice? (If the answer is no, don’t be afraid, but do ask them how they plan to provide the best possible treatment for your child. Do they plan to consult with a specialist, read the literature, discuss with other colleagues, etc.? It is also important to know if your child’s doctor feels that they are in over their head.)

You should also ask about the doctor’s office:

  • What are your office hours?
  • If you aren’t available or on vacation, who can see my child?
  • Can you see my child after hours or on the weekend?
  • If I have a medical question, can I call you? Do you have a “nurse line” for advice and questions? If so, what are their hours and how long should I expect to wait before getting a call back?
  • Do you “take calls” overnight, during the weekends and on holidays? (It’s important to know if you can reach your child’s doctor if the office is closed and a medical issue cannot wait until the next business day).
  • How do you manage medication refills?

Sick care:

  • Ask your child’s doctor about local emergency departments or urgent care facilities. You will be glad that you did if your child gets sick after normal office hours or needs emergency care. It’s important to seek out a hospital that is equipped for and familiar with pediatric patients because “a grown-up hospital is no place for a kid.”
  • Which urgent care or emergency room would you recommend?
  • If my child needs to be admitted to the hospital, where should we go?
  • Will you be the one taking care of my child in the hospital? (Doctors don’t have privileges at every hospital; therefore, just because your child is admitted to the hospital, this doesn’t mean your pediatrician will be able to manage your child’s care while they are at that particular facility. Some pediatricians choose to let hospitalists, doctors who specifically work in the hospital setting, manage their patients while they are in the hospital.)

About your children:


  • Are my children healthy?
  • How often do we need to return for “well-child” checkups?
  • Are my children an ideal weight? How are they doing on their growth chart?
  • How do my children compare developmentally to other children their ages? Are they meeting their milestones?
  • Are my children up to date on their immunizations?

Make sure you understand your child’s medical problems/diagnoses. If you don’t understand, then ask your child’s doctor to explain them to you. Ask the doctor if they can recommend any resources for additional information.


  • Does my child need to take any daily medications? If so, what are they and what does each medication do?
  • What is the best way to give this medication?
  • Why are these medications important?
  • What are the side effects? If my child misses a dose of daily medication, what should I do? Do I need to call you to let you know?
  • What can my child take for a cough or cold?
  • What is best to give my child for a fever or pain?
  • If your child takes any daily medications: Are there any other drugs or foods that cannot be mixed with them?
  • If your child has any allergies, ask the doctor to write these down for you so you can keep this information on you at all times. Ask if any over-the-counter medications contain this particular allergen.

If your child has a specific medical condition:

  • What are signs and symptoms that I need to need to look out for?
  • When should I bring my child in to see you vs. the emergency room?
  • Should we involve a specialist?
  • When do you want to see my child back next?
  • Do I need to bring anything to this appointment?

Never be afraid to ask questions and share information that you think might be important for your pediatrician to know. You and your child’s pediatrician are a team, working together to keep your children safe and healthy!

~Nicole Freedman, MSN, RN, CPNP

Nicole is a nurse practitioner in pediatric urology  at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Ever since she was a kid, she wanted to take care of people. She’s living her dream and her motto is, “Peds is best!”

This post is solely for informational purposes. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for medical advice. Before undertaking any course of treatment or dietary/health changes, you should seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider.

For more insider advice, check out the rest of our Wellness 101 series!

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.