I'm one of those "sound purists," so take it or leave it.
First of all, it might not even matter. Your rotation in peds will probably be in a hospital, and they may have dedicated equipment and not want your nasty (though cleaned 8 bajillion times with alcohol) steth in thier area. hehe
I agree that it doesn't matter in some respects. But you have to be able to get a firm seal, and sometimes the adult steth is just too darn big. I had to get a pediatric steth when my baby started having respiratory issues (RAD for now
), and I believe I can hear better with it than with the adult. It is especially noticable when listening to heart sounds.
But my kids are small. I'm not sure what the average age of the kids you'll see will be, but I'd say it's likely many of them will be older than 4 or 5, and you'll be listening to lung sounds for the most part, and that's OK...
So my advice...if you're going to use it a lot, get a pediatric stethoscope. If you want to specialize in that area, you might as well. But just to get through 1 clinical rotation where you might not be able to use it anyway? I wouldn't.
Clear as mud?