Paediatrics is the medical specialty that deals with the healthcare of young people or children. Its scope extends from birth (including babies born prematurely) to age 16 to 18 years. In the early years, the focus is on developmental assessment, safe and comprehensive immunization and the management of acute illness. Paediatricians have a unique opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles that will ultimately affect adult health. Paediatricians may also work with obstetric and midwifery teams to counsel parents on the potential or anticipated problems with an unborn child.
Why do children need different doctors than adults?
Children cannot be considered to be small adults. There are many anatomical, physiological, immunological, psychological and developmental differences between adults and children. Many diseases present themselves differently or have a different course in children and some diseases occur exclusively in children. Consideration must be given to the variable degree to which children can communicate symptoms.