In the first year of life, a newborn may grow from seven pounds and 20 inches tall into a toddler whose weight has increased by 200 percent and length by 50 percent. And, in that same year, that same toddler has learned to communicate, walk, eat, drink, and play, and make his or her desires and needs known. Although in subsequent years, growth in stature and abilities may not be as rapid and dramatic, mental, physical, and emotional development continue to change. And, through it all, from infancy to adolescence, parents must see that this child is weighed and measured regularly; receives immunizations; has routine checkups to make sure development is going well; is cared for when sick or hurt; and able to handle the pressures that life brings.
What is a pediatrician?
A pediatrician is a child's physician who provides:
- preventive health maintenance for healthy children.
- medical care for children who are acutely or chronically ill.
Pediatricians manage the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of their patients, in every stage of development - in good health or in illness. Generally, pediatricians focus on babies, children, adolescents, and young adults from birth to age 21 years to:
- reduce infant and child mortality.
- control infectious disease.
- foster healthy lifestyles.
- ease the difficulties of children and adolescents with chronic conditions.