Pediatricians provide preventive health maintenance for healthy children and medical care for those who are seriously or chronically ill. Primary care pediatricians focus on the care of children from birth to 21 years of age. From immunizations to monitoring growth and development, from counseling on age-appropriate nutrition to guiding children and families through the potentially tumultuous phases of puberty and adolescence, prevention and health maintenance underscore every patient care interaction.
When pediatricians treat children with injuries, they will then work with the family to develop safety consciousness and to ensure a safe home and play environment. When they encounter an adolescent in emotional turmoil, they seek to help the family develop nurturing parent-child relationships.
Pediatricians work with other medical specialists and midlevel professionals to provide for the health and emotional needs of children. A full range of illnesses, from common infectious diseases and minor trauma, to malignancies, congenital anomalies, and autoimmune disorders are also within the general pediatrician’s area of expertise, though some of these are treated in collaboration with pediatric sub-specialists or pediatric surgical specialists.
Pediatricians are concerned with more than just the child’s physical well-being. They are increasingly involved with the prevention, early detection, and management of behavioral, developmental, and functional social problems that affect children and adolescents. Their skilled assessments may uncover depression or anxiety in children, particularly those who are technology-dependent, or whose activity is limited by chronic conditions. With structured evaluation and early intervention, the primary care pediatrician identifies and addresses the developmental and behavioral issues that result from exposure to prevalent psychosocial stressors.