The birth of a baby in a family comes with a lot of planning and many details need to be worked out. Who will be the best healthcare provider for the child, the family doctor or a pediatrician? This is a common question that arises in every parent’s mind. You have to consider your child’s age and health requirements, your location, and finances before arriving at a decision.

Taking into account the benefits and drawbacks of family doctors and pediatricians individually, interesting data emerges. Family doctors are seen to be the health care providers in smaller cities and towns, whereas pediatricians usually treat children in bigger cities. According to records, 68 percent of pediatricians practice in big cities in comparison to 52 percent of family doctors. This is because people in urban areas tend to emphasize specialization and therefore visit pediatricians for their children’s health issues. This trend is not as common in smaller towns and suburbs.

If you are unable to choose the best doctor for your child, a few vital differences between the two types of medical practitioners should be noted. Moreover, you should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of consulting an Orange County family doctor or the one near you as well as a pediatrician.

Key Distinctions Between a Family Doctor and a Pediatrician

Orange County family doctors are very well-trained to provide comprehensive health care to patients of any age or gender. A family doctor takes care of the health problems affecting every age group, from newborns, children, and teenagers, to adults, and senior citizens.

Family doctors complete a three-year residency training program after earning their medical degree. They are trained in other areas of the medical field beyond just pediatrics.

On the other hand, pediatricians are specialist physicians trained in children’s health care. Their training includes four years of medical school education, and they spend another three years as medical residents in the pediatric departments of hospitals and clinics. Further, they have to pass an examination conducted by the American Board of Pediatrics. This test must be retaken every seven years to ensure that pediatricians are always up to date regarding the knowledge of their specialty area.

Pediatricians provide medical care that includes preventive health care as well as the diagnosis and treatment of chronic and acute diseases in children, adolescents, and young adults.

Family Doctor or Pediatrician – Advantages and Disadvantages

Family Doctor – The advantages of choosing an Orange County family doctor as your child’s primary healthcare provider are:

  • Family doctors are trained to be able to treat the entire family.
  • They can get easy access to all the family medical records.
  • They can take care of your child’s health even after he or she has reached adulthood.
  • They can be your child’s initial healthcare giver even for other aspects of their health issues. For instance, basic gynecological care is often provided to young girls by family physicians.
  • Pediatrician – Some advantages of choosing a pediatrician for your child’s healthcare include:
  • Pediatricians provide specialized healthcare for children.
  • They are trained to communicate appropriately and effectively with children, understanding their issues and health problems comprehensively.
  • They can handle the rare and specific health issues of children efficiently.
  • They are trained to deal with the parents of sick children appropriately and in an empathetic manner.

Points to Remember While Choosing Between Family Doctors and Pediatricians

  • You should be well prepared when choosing the appropriate physician for your child and should conduct the necessary research well before his or her birth. This is because high-quality medical care is important for children, particularly in the early years.
  • You may have to speak to multiple doctors, both family care practitioners as well as pediatricians, to know about the advantages that they have to offer. Through this process, you can check whether your chosen doctor will be able to handle the potential health issues of your child efficiently. You have to be straightforward about your needs and expectations about your child’s healthcare.
  • According to a UCLA study, if your child has chronic health conditions, then a pediatrician should be chosen over a family doctor. Care provided by pediatricians can reduce the length of hospital stays and the number of readmissions required. Moreover, if secondary surgery or intervention is required, there will be fewer health complications for your child if he or she is treated by a pediatrician.
  • You will have to consult a pediatrician for the health issues of your child if he or she has birth problems.
  • You should also consider the location and availability of a doctor’s office while choosing the type of doctor. It is better if the office is closer to your residence. It will also be more convenient if the doctor’s office hours agree with your schedule. Facilities such as lab work, MRIs, and X-rays should also be readily available.


Thus, the choice of a physician depends entirely upon your needs, preferences, and convenience. You are aware that a pediatrician has more experience and knowledge about infants and children, including your child’s developmental issues or chronic health conditions. But, if there is no availability of pediatricians around you, then an Orange County family doctor is the best to provide your child with the best healthcare services.