Children seem to grow up so quickly, both physically and psychologically. Because of this, a lot of parents are asking the same question—when should you start to phase out your child out of pediatric care? At this point, pediatricians and adult care physicians work together, providing adolescent medicine to attain a common goal. 

In this article, you will learn the age that sets a demarcation line between pediatrics and adolescents. 

American Academy of Pediatrics Publication

In 1988, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) published a policy statement indicating the age limit of pediatrics. It was later reaffirmed in 2012, setting the age of pediatrics to an upper limit of 21 years old. Pediatricians can make some exceptions, especially for children with special health care needs.

Here are the highlights of the policy statement of AAP on the age limit of pediatrics:

  • Insurers can freely set arbitrary age limits for which pediatricians may provide health care to as low as 18 years old. 
  • While pre-hospital emergency care facilities are equipped to provide medical care for all patients regardless of age, those with separate adult and pediatric facilities may set policies to direct patients to a unit solely based on their chronological age. 
  • Health care facilities with separate adult and pediatric facilities in hospital inpatient settings can set their own age limit of pediatrics.
  • Pediatricians are better suited than adult-oriented physicians to provide care for patients with special health care needs even outside the arbitrary age, especially if a pediatrician has previously cared for the patient in question. 

If your child looks too old for a pediatric physician but too young for an adult one, it’s still probably time to phase them out from pediatric care. You can find a doctor for your adolescent who has experience in adolescent-specific medicine by using resources that can help you find local doctors in your area. 

The ‘Pediatric’ Label

Many advertising campaigns targeting children and teenage populations usually use the term ‘pediatric’ in addition to the product or service the business offers. Some examples include pediatric vitamins, pediatric chiropractic services, and milk for pediatrics.

So, what should you choose when buying products or using services for your children when they’re neither children nor adults? Here are some tips:

  • Check the product listing and identify the exact age range appropriate for consumption.
  • Always make sure to seek the help of a medical expert when buying products taken internally and applied topically.
  • It is important to know the ingredients or content of the product you are buying to avoid dealing with allergies, side effects, or adverse reactions. 

Pediatric Dental Health

When it comes to pediatric dental health, pediatric dentists play a crucial role in early diagnosis of oral problems, such as tooth decay, dental malalignment, and gum disease. During the first six months of life, children start to get their baby teeth, and they begin to lose their primary teeth by age six or seven years old. 

Pediatric dentists typically handle children patients as early six 6 months old up to 12–13 years old, or until they develop adult teeth. Parents may opt to have their children attended by a pediatric dentist until their teenage years.

Psychosocial Development 

Erik Erikson, a famous psychologist, proposed the theory of psychosocial development highlighting the different stages in which personality is developed from infancy to old age. So, why should parents be aware of such theory?

Parents know their children better than anybody—their personality traits, in particular. With the help of a psychologist, parents can become more aware how to deal with their children based on their age and stage of development they are experiencing. 

Developmental Milestones

By understanding developmental milestones, parents are guided when their children must still be kept within a pediatrician’s care. Children and teenagers have complex needs because of rapid physical changes, and attaining every milestone is a good indicator of whether your child is ready to take the next level or not. When in doubt, you can talk to a pediatrician to discuss your child’s developmental progress.


The AAP set a policy statement as to the age limit of pediatrics and many health care professionals follow this standard. Consult a pediatrician if your child is 21 years old or younger. There are doctors trained in adolescent medicine, so when your child enters their teenage years you can easily find a physician near you who will be able to provide age-appropriate care to your growing children.