As mothers, we don’t really think much about trusting our barista, or the cashier in the grocery store. But our child’’s pediatrician? Quite a different matter.

Our pediatrician is an extension of the care and attention that we provide kids. More so, they are a significant element of our sense of security. With a competent and hopefully likeable pediatrician on our roster, we can rest knowing that we’re not alone should medical emergencies arise.

How do you go about finding a pediatrician you can trust? Here are some tips:

Solicit referrals. Ask friends and neighbors if they can make recommendations. While the yellow pages are convenient, paid ads and listed numbers can’t give you a clear picture of the factors you’d want to look for in a doctor. These factors include general demeanor, professionalism, reliability and medical expertise.

So ask around: Are they always at the office when they say they would be? Do they show up for appointments? Can they be contacted during moments of emergencies? Are they likeable? Are they accurate when it comes to diagnosis? If people you respect talk about a pediatrician favorably, chances are you have a lead worth pursuing.

Ask for credentials. There’s nothing wrong with asking a clinic or a hospital for your pediatrician’s credentials — it’s your right to know who your service-provider is! Knowing their institutional and academic affiliations, even their additional training and specialties, can go a long way in keeping your mind at ease about letting them care for your children.

A quick internet search wouldn’t be amiss either. Check if your doctor is a certified member of the American Board of Pediatrics, and if they are licensed in your state. Passing the standards of professional and governmental regulatory institutions is a must for all practicing pediatricians.

Meet them! Set a general consultation and see how well they interact your children. Do they speak to your children in a way appropriate to their age? Are they gentle with their check-ups? This aspect is so important because while a doctor may get along well with other children, they won’t necessarily get along well with yours. Sometimes it’s just a chemistry thing! You don’t want to make going to the doctor traumatic, especially if your kids are really young.

But remember, it’s not just how they relate with your children that’s important. It’s how they relate with you too. Do you like this person? Does he or she listen to you well? Does this doctor consider your input?

More importantly, do you agree with core issues about your child? It wouldn’t hurt to ask a doctor about his opinion on things that matter to you, for instance the use of natural vs. laboratory pharmaceuticals. If you and your doctor have major issues to sort our, that can make your relationships strained and difficult for the future. Go with your gut instinct. And lastly, trust your feelings; a mother’s gut instinct, if you must call it that. If there’s something about a pediatrician that makes you uncomfortable (whether it’s based on fact or not), then it might not be a good idea for you to set up a relationship with this doctor. After, your relationship with your pediatrician is likely one that would last for many years — and you can’t build it on a rocky foundation!