Pediatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents. The upper age limit of such patients ranges from age 12 to 21, depending on the country. A medical practitioner who specializes in this area is known as a pediatrician. The word pediatrics and its cognates mean healer of children; they derive from two Greek words: παῖς (pais = child) and ἰατρός (iatros = doctor or healer).[1]


Paediatrics differs from adult medicine in many respects. The obvious 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 paediatricians than they often are to adult physicians.

Treating a child is not like treating a miniature adult. A major difference between paediatrics 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 paediatric procedure. In a sense, paediatricians often have to treat the parents and sometimes, the family, rather than just the child.[2]


Pediatrics became a medical specialty in the mid-19th century. Before that time the care and treatment of childhood diseases was included within such areas as general medicine and obstetrics (and midwifery).

The first pediatric monograph written in the U.S. was by Charles Caldwell who received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1796. His doctoral thesis was on diseases of childhood associated with fever.[3]

pediatrics pediatrician


[2] ibid

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