National Pediatrician Day is observed on January 28 every year. Although not officially recognized, this holiday ensures these specialized doctors get their due. After all, pediatricians, who get their name from the derivation of two Greek words that mean ‘healer of children,’ care for arguably the most important members of society — our children. They deserve a day that honors their contribution to healthcare too.
History of National Pediatrician Day
While ancient scholars, including Aristotle and Hippocrates, recognized that children and adults need different treatments, traditional medical professionals cared for children and adults. A form of pediatrics reportedly existed in Ancient India, Ancient Greece, the Byzantine Empire, and Persia.
The first step towards separating child and adult care was a specialized center for children called the Hôpital des Enfants-Trouvés. It was a hospital for abandoned children, established in the 1600s in France. However, medicine did not catch up to these revolutionary ideas quite so fast. That is, until Swedish physician Nils Rosén von Rosenstein (1706 — 1773). He is considered by many to be the founder of modern pediatrics as a medical specialty, mostly because of his treatise, “The Diseases of Children and Their Remedies,” published in book form in 1764. These writings, which deal with how to treat children and infants and encourage progress in child health, are considered collectively to be the first modern pediatric textbook.
The early 19th century saw the first children’s hospital open in France. Early pediatric care centers soon spread to other countries throughout Europe, and later, all over the world. In the U.S., the first children’s hospital opened in Philadelphia in 1855.
The growth of pediatrics in America is attributed to Dr. Abraham Jacobi. A German pediatrician, he came to New York in 1853, subsequently forming societies devoted to pediatric health and creating children’s departments in New York hospitals. His practices informed other medical professionals, and pediatrics as a medical specialty was certified.
The entire field of pediatrics advanced rapidly, and by the 20th century, multiple specialties and subspecialties emerged. As the need and interest in varied areas of child health evolve, so too does the entire field of pediatrics.
National Pediatrician Day timeline
The Greek physician Hippocrates writes about multiple issues related to child health — asthma, cephalhematoma, clubfoot, diarrhea, hydrocephalus, mumps, scrofula, and worms.
The Hôpital des Enfants Malades opens in Paris and is famed for treating only young children up to the age of 15.
This hospital for sick children invents the first heart and lung bypass machine for children in 1962 and becomes one of the world's largest centers for heart transplantation.
The American Pediatric Society and American Academy of Pediatrics are established, and guide the field of pediatrics, turning it into the specialized field the world knows today.
National Pediatrician Day FAQs
What is special about a pediatrician?
Pediatricians only treat children and are trained to recognize childhood illnesses and take care of children’s physical, emotional, and behavioral needs.
What is a typical day in the life of a pediatrician?
In private practice or otherwise, pediatricians schedule patients throughout the day, with space for walk-ins. Some of these might be regular check-ups, while others include sick children. During certain seasons, like winter, more patients visit the pediatrician than in other months
Is there a demand for pediatricians?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics puts the demand for pediatricians at an all-time high in the U.S. They estimate a 10% growth by 2024.
How to Observe National Pediatrician Day
Visit your pediatrician
Is the doctor that took care of your childhood ailments still around? Check in on them and take a quick walk down memory lane. Show them you still remember and honor the care they gave you. If you can't find your pediatrician, how about building a relationship with your children’s doctor?
Show pediatricians some gratitude
Positively rate their practice, send new patients their way, or maybe buy them lunch. Communicate your thanks in any way you can.
Learn more about pediatricians
Read about the 'influencers' who inspired this field of medicine. Discover how much study goes into becoming a specialist in this field and how pediatricians can help your children.
5 Differences Between Adult Medicine And Pediatrics
Children are not 'little adults'
Their physiology is different and so diagnoses, and even medicines must be different too.
Children are constantly growing
This means their physiology is not only different from adults, it changes year after year.
Children and healthcare decisions
Parents and caregivers become the most important people when you take into account the fact that children aren't allowed to make healthcare decisions by themselves.
All doctors have to deal with their patients' emotions and feelings, but this takes on a more complex meaning when the patients are immature and learning about their own emotions.
Doctors also need to be different
Pediatricians need to have tremendous patience, empathy, and kindness to be able to communicate with and treat children.
Why National Pediatrician Day is Important
They care for the vulnerable
From infants to toddlers, to teens — pediatricians care for children until they no longer need parental consent. They are the front line of defense while keeping the youngest members of our society healthy and happy.
They've seen us at our worst
Pediatricians have been our source of support during every difficult period in our (and our parents') lives, including teething problems, colds, and braces. We owe them some care and support.
They're preventing health problems
Most of us go to doctors only after we get sick, but the responsibilities of a pediatrician involve preventative care. For instance, pediatricians had a very active role in eradicating diseases that affected young kids, like polio and smallpox.
National Pediatrician Day dates