Although no doctor is perfect, there's a certain level of professionalism and care every pediatrician should provide. Here, six signs that you and your child aren't getting the care you deserve.

  • He makes you or your child feel uncomfortable or stupid when you ask questions.
  • He seems annoyed or bothered when you call with concerns or emergencies.
  • He's dismissive when you ask for details or simply ignores your questions.
  • He has a poor bedside manner and/or communication skills.
  • He gets upset when you question his judgment or ask for a second opinion.
  • He overmedicates or overtreats your child for routine ailments, racking up costly bills.

Finding a New Pediatrician
If you've decided it's time to shop around, there are several guidelines you can follow to ensure better results this time. Ask friends and family for recommendations, and do background checks through the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). Also find out whether the pediatrician has more than one office or belongs to a network, and ask questions about how the doctor divides his or her time.

When you visit the office, pay close attention to whether the staff are accommodating, as well as to the cleanliness and setup (some offices have no separate area for sick children, and oftentimes, healthy kids can become sick during their visits). In addition, follow these tips from the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation.

  • Shop around: Remember, you don't have to choose the first pediatrician you find. Instead, think of it as a hiring process, in which you can interview several candidates before choosing one.
  • Think "big picture": It's not only important that your pediatrician is competent in emergency care; he or she should also be well-versed in
    child development and preventative measures.
  • Listen to your child: Don't underestimate how your child feels. He or she should feel comfortable around the doctor, and if that's not the case, you should keep searching.
  • Keep it confidential: As a parent, anything you talk about with your child's pediatrician should be kept private and not shared with anyone unless you've given your permission. If you suspect a pediatrician is indiscreet, find a new one.
  • Seek out certain qualities: You should expect your child's pediatrician to be caring, compassionate, and respectful. If he or she lacks any of these qualities, consider it a major red flag.
  • Find a doctor, not a judge: Beware the judgmental pediatrician who purposely inflicts embarrassment on you or your child. Health problems can happen to anyone, and it's important that the doctor be supportive so you can work as a team to keep your child healthy.