Finding a pediatrician: Children’s Fit & Fun Day

"You have to be able to trust your pediatrician and we want to develop that relationship too."

By: Alexa Olson .

children's event
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For parents, finding a pediatrician to care for their child can be seen as a daunting task. There are often many questions and factors parents have to consider when choosing someone to care for their child.

To simplify this process, Sanford Health is hosting an event dedicated to introducing parents and their children to pediatricians in the area. However, if you are not able to make it to the Children’s Fit & Fun Day at the Kirkwood Mall in Bismarck, North Dakota, on Saturday, Jan. 26, Sanford Health pediatrician, Christiana DaSilva, M.D., has some advice for parents on choosing the perfect pediatrician.

A specialty in children

As a pediatrician, Dr. DaSilva has a special focus on children and their development. “We take care of normal, well children to children with varying genetic disorders,” Dr. DaSilva says. “These disorders can range anywhere from Down syndrome, DiGeorge syndrome, cerebral palsy to other metabolic problems.”

According to DaSilva, having a pediatrician is crucial. “As a pediatrician, my training is specifically in children ages 0-18 years old,” DaSilva says. “We do a three-year residency that is based on working with children and with pediatric specialists.”

This in-depth knowledge of children and how they develop aids in identifying growth and development issues. “One of the things we follow very closely is growth,” Dr. DaSilva says. “I get concerned when children are not meeting their appropriate weight or height.”

In addition, this specialty and emphasis on following growth allows pediatricians to identify other issues that might not be showing signs or symptoms. “Most of the time in kids the only sign of celiac disease, ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease is simply that they’re not growing correctly,” DaSilva says.

Informing parents

Parents rely on their pediatrician to guide and inform them through their child’s developments. While there are many topics pediatricians discuss with parents, DaSilva says that it really depends on the age of the child. “If it’s a newborn visit, for example, the focus will be on fever, sudden infant death syndrome, keeping your baby safe and addressing popular beliefs and concerns,” she says.

However, as they age, their visits have a different focus. “If it’s a 6-month well-child check, I’m talking about how we need to put the crib on the lowest setting,” she says. “They’re going to be crawling and pulling to stand and getting into more trouble.”

As a pediatrician, DaSilva says she also discusses common misconceptions about babies and development. “We address topics like teething, fevers, sleeping, and other development milestones,” she explains.

Finding the right fit

Choosing a pediatrician that you and your child are both comfortable interacting with is crucial. DaSilva says she takes certain approaches to interact with kids and participate in exams. “You’re often times making animal noises in their ears, having them point out things that are in books or on our boards,” she says. “It’s very important to have a good relationship with the parents and other family involved.”

Not only is a good relationship crucial, but so is being comfortable enough to openly communicate with your pediatrician. “Obviously, communication is going to be the biggest asset to have. You have to be able to trust your pediatrician and want to develop that relationship,” DaSilva says.

If you’re looking to meet pediatricians and get to know them first, DaSilva says they do meet-and-greets in their office. “Parents are more than welcome to call us if they would like to meet, and just ask questions or anything that we can help answer,” she says. “Especially if you’re a first-time parent, because let’s face it, we’re never completely prepared for a baby,” she laughs.

Children’s Fit & Fun Day

The public is invited to bring their family to the Children’s Fit & Fun Day at Kirkwood Mall on Saturday, Jan. 26, from 9 a.m. to noon. The event is free and provides kid friendly activities and the opportunity to get to know the Sanford Children’s pediatric team. Parents and children will meet Sanford Health providers and learn about the services Sanford Children’s offers. Kids will also visit stations where they will play fun games, receive prizes and collect stamps to build their own bear.

“At the event we have different stations set up. For example, we have therapy at one, one booth will talk about well-child checks, one will discuss SIDS and prevention,” DaSilva says.

“Each pediatrician will be stationed at the different booths and each booth will have an activity you can do to earn a prize. It’s fun for them to participate in,” she says.