Regular health visits and check-ups will help general practitioners stay on top of their patients’ health history, as well as discover new or worsening systems as they arise and before it’s too late.
It may be straightforward enough to schedule our own annual exam or make an appointment when we aren’t feeling our best, but how do we know when and how often our children should see their doctors?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 7 well-child visits between the ages of 1 and 4.
Wellness check-up ages: newborn, 3-5 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 2 years, 2 1/2 years, 3 years, and 4 years. It is recommended that children and adolescents from 4 to 21 years old get a wellness exam annually.
What do wellness check-ups include?
- Head-to-toe physical examination
- Developmental screening
- Vision screening
- Hearing screening
- Blood pressure screening
- Anemia screening
- Lead screening, as needed
- Health education
A well-baby exam is a routine check-up where your child’s pediatrician reviews their growth development, as well as any health concerns or new and recurring symptoms that your baby might be experiencing.
The pediatrician will check the following at your well-baby exams:
- Measurements: height, head circumference, and where they land on their personal growth chart vs. the average baby growth chart
- Head-to-toe physical exam: head, shoulders, knees, and toes [knees and toes!]
- Your baby’s development so far. An example of questions the pediatrician might ask are: “can your baby support their head well?”, “do they attempt to roll over?”, etc.
- Vaccines: which vaccinations are upcoming, and how to soothe them before, during, after, etc.
Pro-tip for new parents: Ask if the doctor’s office or clinic offers a 24-hour nurse information service. Knowing help is available when you need it can offer peace of mind.
Why regular visits to the pediatrician are encouraged
Routine check-ups are different from visiting your doctor for a sickness or infection of some sort. This routine visit to your kiddos’ pediatrician will help the doctor catch any potential health scares early on, while they’re easier to treat.
The CDC mentions that well-child visits are essential for:
- Tracking growth and developmental milestones
- Discussing any concerns about your child’s health
- Getting scheduled vaccinations to prevent illnesses like measles and whooping cough (pertussis) and other serious diseases
Routinely recommended vaccines for children and adolescents:
In addition to finding a trusted pediatrician and general health practitioner, don’t forget to find a trusted 24-hour emergency room in your area that you and your children feel comfortable and safe going to.
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