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Pediatrics focuses on the health care of infants, children, and adolescents. The smaller body of an infant is substantially different physiologically from that of an adult. Besides the usual range of care offered, practitioners with a pediatric specialty particularly focus on congenital defects, genetic variance, behavioral and developmental issues. A large focus in pediatrics is health maintenance, anticipatory guidance and parental counseling. Evaluation of the family system is also needed to identify health care and developmental needs of the child.

Childhood is the period when the greatest growth and maturation occurs for the various systems of the body. Practitioners specializing in pediatrics receive education in recognizing the difference between normal variants of those systems and actual conditions relating to or caused by disorders requiring special evaluation and treatment.

Privacy issues and legal responsibilities are respected. Children are minors and therefore are unable to make decisions for themselves. Therefore, the primary caregivers are involved in all aspects of care and decision-making involving the child.