Pediatrics is the branch of medicine that focuses on the health and treatment of children. This focus has arisen within health care because the normal physiology and anatomy, as well as the usual illnesses and responses to treatment, are qualitatively different between children and mature adults. Additionally, the therapeutic environments and relationships that are most suitable for children are often qualitatively distinct. Those differences include techniques and equipment used in examination, as well as therapeutic care.
Pediatric specialties are part of many other disciplines in medicine, for example, pediatric surgery focuses on general surgery of children and infants and pediatric otolaryngology focuses on the ear, nose, and throat care of that same population. In the United States, pediatricians are physicians who have completed residency training in pediatrics, where as a pediatric surgeon is a fully trained general surgeon who has completed fellowship training in pediatric surgery. The specialties and training of physicians and allied health care providers who offer primary and specialty care for children is outlined in a later section.