Childhood is a time of bumps and bruises, mysterious maladies and bright red rashes. When your child is sick, a pediatrician can quickly become your best friend. It is therefore important that your pediatrician is someone with whom both you and your child can feel comfortable. When choosing a pediatrician for your child, there are several important factors that must be considered. How to Find a Quality Pediatrician Begin your search early, preferably shortly after birth. Searching for a pediatrician when your child is sick can lead to hasty decisions and eventual dissatisfaction. Ask family and friends for recommendations, being sure to ask for specific details as to why they endorse their pediatrician over others. If moving to a new area where family and friends are not readily available, consider asking a local children's hospital to vouch for a doctor. Hospitals work with pediatricians every day, and they may have a list of preferred physicians on hand. What to Look for in a Pediatrician's Office You may want to visit several offices before making a final decision. During this process, it is important to take several factors under consideration. What is the waiting room like? A quality pediatrician will have a waiting room designed with children in mind. It may have toys, cartoons, a tank for fish viewing or other activities available to combat boredom. Evaluate the office staff. Are they friendly, competent and businesslike? Is the phone answered promptly? Are you greeted the moment you walk in? A busy pediatric practice may attest to the pediatrician's capabilities, but a great pediatrician is of little use if he is too busy to see patients in a timely fashion. Questions to Ask a Pediatrician Once you have narrowed down your search to one or two doctors, you may wish to interview them before making a final commitment. Devising a list of important questions before the meeting will help to ensure nothing is overlooked. Be sure to ask the questions that matter most to your situation. For instance, is the doctor willing to see babies, children and teenagers, or does he specialize in a certain age group? Is he available during non-office hours for urgent situations? Is he qualified to offer developmental advice and support? Does he have partners that are able to treat your child in his absence? Asking the right questions now will help to prevent future miscommunications. A good pediatrician should be competent, easy-going and patient. For a child, being sick is never fun and can often be stressful. When your child is feeling under the weather, a quality pediatrician can make all the difference in the world.