When should we go to the Pediatrician?

As parents, we face the ongoing conundrum of deciding when to take our children to the pediatrician. It’s a delicate dance between not overreacting to every sniffle and ensuring serious symptoms don’t go unchecked. Here’s a simple guide to help you make informed decisions about your child’s health.

1. Regular Checkups and Milestones

Preventative care is paramount. Scheduled well-child visits are crucial for monitoring growth, development, and vaccinations. These appointments are opportunities to discuss nutrition, sleep, behavior, and safety.

2. Fever: More Than Just a Number

A fever in a newborn (age 0-3 months) warrants immediate medical attention. For older babies and children, it’s not just the thermometer reading but how they’re acting. Is your child lethargic, irritable, or not drinking fluids? These signs suggest it’s time to call the doctor.

3. Persistent Symptoms

Coughs and colds are part of growing up, but if symptoms persist beyond a week, or are accompanied by wheezing, difficulty breathing, or not eating, it’s time to seek medical advice.

4. Stomach Troubles

Occasional tummy aches are normal, but persistent pain, diarrhea, or vomiting should raise a red flag. Dehydration and weight loss are serious concerns, especially in young children.

5. Rashes and Skin Issues

Skin changes are common and often not serious. However, if a rash is spreading rapidly, is accompanied by a fever, or if the child seems unwell, a pediatrician should evaluate it.

6. Behavioral Shifts

Sudden changes in behavior, such as excessive sleepiness, difficulty waking, or a drop in academic performance, deserve a professional’s input.

7. When in Doubt

Trust your instincts. You know your child best. If something feels off, it’s better to err on the side of caution.

Conclusion: Partnering with Your Pediatrician

Remember, your pediatrician is your partner in your child’s health journey. They’re there to support you, provide resources, and ensure your little ones thrive. When in doubt, reach out.


Your newborn should visit the pediatrician within the first week after birth. This visit is crucial to monitor weight gain, check for jaundice, and discuss feeding and care. Subsequently, regular well-child visits are scheduled during the first two years as recommended by your pediatrician.

For infants under 3 months, a fever (100.4°F or higher) requires immediate medical attention. For older children, a fever accompanied by symptoms like rash, difficulty breathing, persistent crying, ear pain, or lethargy means it’s time to call the pediatrician. If the fever persists for more than 24-48 hours in a child over 3 months, seek medical advice.

If your child has a cold that doesn’t improve after 7-10 days, or if they have trouble breathing, wheezing, severe sore throat, persistent cough, or ear pain, it’s a good idea to consult your pediatrician.

If your child experiences a loss of consciousness, vomits repeatedly, has a headache that gets worse, seems confused, has difficulty walking or talking, or if you notice any behavioral changes, seek immediate medical attention.

Yes, signs of dehydration include no tears when crying, a dry mouth, sunken eyes, lethargy, and going six hours without a wet diaper in infants or no urination in 8-12 hours for older children. If you observe these signs, contact your pediatrician.