People often associate pediatric doctors with babies, infants, and young children, but pediatricians provide care for older adolescents as well. However, since it’s difficult to say the exact age at which adolescence ends and adulthood begins, there may be confusion as to whether your child should still see a pediatrician. Should your teen still see a pediatrician after he gets his drivers license? Should your teen still see a pediatrician after she registers to vote? Here’s some information to help you make that decision.
When does adolescence start and end?
Adolescence is an identifiable stage in life; however there’s sometimes dispute over when adolescents are no longer adolescents but adults. The official age range for adolescence varies from organization to organization. Some say adolescence starts as early as 10 years of age and some say that it continues as late as 25 years of age.
The World Health Organization defines adolescence as the period of development between childhood and adulthood, spanning the ages of 10 and 19.
When should your child stop seeing a pediatrician?
Adolescence begins at puberty and continues until adulthood, but this doesn’t happen for everyone at a precise chronological age. Therein lies the confusion some parents have when deciding if it’s time for their child to find an adult primary care physician. People develop at different rates, and some may enter and leave adolescence earlier than others.
Once your child is a legal adult, he or she can visit an adult primary care physician. That does not necessarily mean that your child must stop seeing a pediatrician at 18, however.
Northwest Arkansas Pediatrics provides care for patients until college graduation or the age of 21. Ask your child’s pediatrician for a referral once it’s time for your child to transition to an adult PCP.
There are a number of wonderful pediatricians and adult doctors and specialists within the MANA network. Having a pediatrician within the MANA network means that your child will have a seamless transition to a primary care provider when the time comes.