Pediatrics (also spelled paediatrics or pædiatrics) is the branch of medicine that deals with the medical care of infants, children, and adolescents, and the age limit usually ranges from birth up to 18 (in some places until completion of secondary education, and until age 21 in the United States).
A medical practitioner who specializes in this area is known as a pediatrician, or paediatrician. The word paediatrics and its cognates mean "healer of children"; they derive from two Greek words: παῖς (pais "child") and ἰατρός (iatros "doctor, healer").
In the United States, a pediatrician is often a primary care physician who specializes in children, whilst in the Commonwealth a paediatrician in paediatrics but generally not as a primary general practitioner
Differences between adult and pediatric medicine The 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 pediatricians than they often are to adult physicians.
A major difference between pediatrics 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 pediatric procedure.
In a sense, pediatricians often have to treat the parents and sometimes, the family, rather than just the child. Adolescents are in their own legal class, having rights to their own health care decisions in certain circumstances. In basic terms, pediatricians take care of all of the children's needs from emotional support to medical support.