Pædiatri er udviklet og accepteret som et aldersafgrænset lægeligt speciale, fordi sygdomsmønstret hos børn er forskelligt fra voksnes, og fordi både symptomer, forløb, behandling og prognose er påvirket af, at børns sygdomme rammer en organisme i vækst.
Som i andre lægelige specialer har udviklingen ført til en yderligere specialisering i pædiatri, fx nyfødte børns sygdomme (neonatologi), børneallergologi, socialpædiatri og neuropædiatri. Der findes børneafdelinger på alle danske universitets- og centralsygehuse.

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People pay the doctor for his trouble; for his kindness they still remain in his debt.

— Seneca
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