You get a reminder from your pediatrician that your child is due for a well child checkup. With all that you have going on at work and outside of work, you wonder if you should even take time off for a simple wellness exam — especially when you think your child is doing just fine. Are well child checkups necessary? Can you skip this one? Here’s some information to help you make your decision.
Are Well Child Checkups Necessary?
All states require children to be vaccinated against certain communicable diseases unless you live in a state that permits certain exemptions. But even if your child is due for a well-child checkup that doesn’t involve a vaccination, you should try your best to make the appointment. These visits are critical to your child’s development. It allows the pediatrician an opportunity to catch and treat potential medical conditions in their early stages. Early intervention is key to many diseases, including various cancers, as well as developmental, social, and emotional conditions.
What is Involved in Well Child Checkups Anyway?
A well-child visit involves the following:
- Evaluation of your child’s growth and development
- Immunizations (according to vaccination schedule)
- Assessment of existing medical conditions
- Identifying any new medical conditions
- Response to parents’ questions or concerns with their child’s development
- Providing parents with information about healthcare
When Do I Take My Child for Well Child Checkups?
The frequency of well-child visits varies among national medical organizations. Your doctor will have you bring your child in more frequently during early childhood because they are growing rapidly during these years. As your kids get older, these checkups will become less frequent, but are still critical for disease prevention and health maintenance. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) suggests the following well check-up schedule:
- Newborns: within 2–4 days after birth
- Infants and toddlers: 1 month of age, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year, 15 months, and 18 months
- Toddlers and preschoolers: every year from the ages of two to five
- School-age children and adolescents: ages six, eight, and ten, and each year after age ten