Pediatric Medicine

Pediatrics (or paediatrics) is the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care ofinfants, children, and adolescents. A medical practitioner who specializes in this area is known as a pediatrician, or paediatrician.

Differences between Adult and Pediatric Medicine

The body size differences are paralleled by maturational changes. The smaller body of an infant or neonate is substantially different physiologically from that of an adult. Congenital defects, genetic variance, and developmental issues are of greater concern to pediatricians than they often are to adult physicians.

A major difference between pediatrics and adult medicine is that children are minors and, in most jurisdictions, cannot make decisions for themselves. The issues of guardianship, privacy, legal responsibility and informed consent must always be considered in every pediatric procedure. In a sense, pediatricians often have to treat the parents and sometimes, the family, rather than just the child. Adolescents are in their own legal class, having rights to their own health care decisions in certain circumstances. In basic terms, pediatricians take care of all of the children s needs from emotional support to medical support.

Subspecialties of Pediatrics include:

  • Pediatric neuropsychology
  • Pediatric ophthalmology
  • Pediatric endocrinology
  • Pediatric oncology
  • Pediatric pulmonology