Growing Into A Healthy Adult

The trusted pediatrician is a baby’s first doctor. Present for all the early milestones, this health professional is pivotal to proper growth and development in the early years. As a child gets older, a switch to a family practice can take place. This will depend on location, underlying health conditions, age, and the pediatrician requirements.


Maxing out on pediatric care

Going to the same doctor for every visit can feel comfortable. However, patients must remember that pediatricians are focused solely on caring for children. In most cases, the pediatrician will stop seeing patients between 18-21 years of age.

Making the switch early

Most children see a pediatrician into adulthood, but there are certain cases when an earlier switch may be necessary. If a child is relatively healthy and has no underlying medical conditions, a family practice office may be the more mature option needed. Especially for teens, getting out of the waiting room full of baby toys can make for a more enjoyable experience. Furthermore, finding a trusted adult provider can make a big difference in discussing teen-specific topics such as sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, birth control, and alcohol use.

Stay a little longer

Although some teens may be ready to move on to an adult doctor, other individuals may feel comfortable staying with the pediatrician for a few extra years. This is especially true for children with chronic health problems. In many cases, the pediatrician has followed the patient’s care for years and is up to date with the patient’s current treatments and medications. Although switching to a new provider will need to happen at some point, waiting until the child is old enough to convey a complex past medical history to a new doctor is often warranted.

Location and availability

Switching to a family practice office is often a blessing because of more availability and accessibility. When the decision is made to transition to a new primary care provider (PCP), start looking at least 6 months before an appointment is needed and make sure the medical records are transferred ahead of time.

A new doctor for adulthood

The switch to a family medicine doctor is a transition all individuals must go through. Although the pediatrician’s office can be a place of comfort, an adult doctor has the expertise needed to handle more complex issues extending beyond adolescence. Most kids start looking for a new doctor around age 18, but this can vary. Once a new doctor is found, keep up with consistent annual visits to ensure optimal health.