Why Well Child Visits Matter at Every Stage of Development.

Why Well Child Visits Matter at Every Stage of Development.

Why Well Child Visits Matter at Every Stage of Development.

What Is a Well Child Visit?

Well child visits are very important in the growing years of every child. They are annual health checks that start from birth and go on till a child reaches adulthood at the age of 21. Depending on the child’s age these visits are scheduled every few weeks or months if it is for an infant and yearly as the child grows older. Children with special needs will require frequent well visits as well.  Because childhood is a time where a child undergoes rapid growth and development, regular checkups help a child’s physician to assess their physical, mental and general health to look for any undiagnosed issues and prevent any associated problems. These visits are not only important for the child but also for the parent as they get a chance to learn about the overall health of their child, keep a check on their child’s milestones to make sure they are growing and developing as expected and get a chance to discuss any concerns related to the child’s health and daily challenges like appetite, sleep etc. Regular or annual visits also help form a connection between the family and their child’s health care provider.

Schedule For Well Child Visits

Regular routine checkups are important for children during every stage of their development.

Infants

The babies are recommended to visit their pediatrician frequently from 3-5 days old till they are young toddlers. These visits help the child’s healthcare provider to understand how the child is meeting their milestones such as speech, learning, behavior, habits and keep up with the vaccinations that infants require during their early months. Any missed milestone could be an indicative of an underlying problem and would require the child to undergo further investigations to identify or rule out any concern. Typically, a child undergoes developmental and behavioral screening at
  • 9 months
  • 18 months
  • 30 months
And autism screening from
  • 18 months
  • 24 months
Any concerns observed after the screenings help the health provider determine if the child would need any treatment or would require and special intervention or maybe both. During well visits the infant will also be given their vaccinations.

Child

After age 4, when all the vaccinations are up to date, a Well Child visit should take place yearly and should include a complete detailed physical exam, giving the child any necessary vaccinations and immunizations, tracking the child’s growth and development, educating the parents about prevention of any illness, nutrition advice and addressing any behavioral issues.

Pre-Puberty

Some children start to show signs of puberty as early as 7, the doctor will examine the child for and pubertal development. It is important for a parent or caregiver to be present during this time. Apart from examining for any puberty changes the child’s doctor will listen to their heart, lungs, check the blood pressure, observe the gait of the child, and look for any spine curvature.

 Age 21

In general, a child can be seen by their pediatrician till age 21 after which the doctor will most likely recommend a primary care provider who will then take over the yearly well visits for the child who will now be considered as an adult.

Importance Of Well Child Visits

  • IMMUNIZATIONS:
 One of the most important reasons for a Well Child visit is to be up to date with the Immunizations to prevent contagious diseases and various illnesses. It is mandatory in most schools and day care facilities for a child to be up to date with their immunizations. Diseases like seasonal flu, hepatitis, influenza, meningitis etc., can be prevented by providing Immunizations.
  • ROUTINE PHYSICAL:
During a regular visit, the child’s pediatrician monitors the child’s
  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Ear exam
  • Musculoskeletal examination
The information obtained from these examinations help the health care provider to track the child’s growth and development, thus ensuring the child is healthy, to rule out any medical issues and to take necessary precautions if a child has some preexisting conditions like asthmas, allergies, heart murmurs etc.
  • BEHAVIORAL HEALTH:
Not only are well-child visits important for accessing the physical health but are necessary to monitor the behavioral health of the child too. Regular visits help the pediatrician assess the child’s mental and behavioral development and look for some issues such as
  • ADD and ADHD
  • Learning disabilities
  • Autism
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
The early identification of these conditions is important both for the pediatricians and the child’s caregivers to help identify and address the problems and to provide an early intervention.
  • DIET AND NUTRITION:
Monitoring the weight of the child helps determine if the child is overweight or underweight. It is important to assess if the child is gaining weight too fast for their age and establish a relation between the child’s weight and height. Weight gain is the most important sign that the child is growing up healthy. It also helps the pediatrician educate the parents or caregivers what a well balances diet is and to look for any nutritional deficiencies that are very common in children due a poor diet such as
  • Anemia/ iron deficiency
  • Vid D deficiency
  • Calcium deficiency
  • Magnesium deficiency
  • Codeine deficiency etc.
  • PARENTS:
Parents can benefit from well-visits too because it gives them an opportunity to clear any doubts or ask questions about the child’s health, diet, sleep and behavior. By interacting with the child’s health care provider, they can learn how to best take care of minor illnesses, how to improve the overall health, and what to look out for in terms of safety at home and in school. These interactions between parents and doctors create a relationship of trust that will be beneficial to the child in the long run.

Questions To Ask During a Well-Child Visit

Is My Child’s Height And Weight Normal?

It is very important for a parent or a caregiver to address their child’s height and weight as children grow rapidly, hence it is necessary to make sure their growth curve is normal and steady on the rise. Beyond infancy in childhood years and teenagers gaining excess weight is a common problem, hence it is important for a parent to address this issue.

Is My Child Up to Date With Vaccinations?

Most children receive all their vaccinations by the age of six. Making sure the child is having received all their vaccinations is very important to protect them from various diseases such as meningitis, polio, influenza, hepatitis etc.

Is The Child Meeting Their Milestones?

Every parent should be aware of the milestones that are required to be met for the specific age of the child. In the early years of the child these include making eye contact, grabbing, smiling, talking. In addition to these it is also important for a parent to know what milestone they should be expecting to see in their child by the next doctors visit.

How Can I Keep My Child Healthy?

A parent should be aware of what they should and should not feed their child especially in the early years, such as honey is to be avoided till the child is at least a year old, when can they introduce solid foods to the baby, how long should one breastfeed. for the older children it is important for the parent to find out which food are healthy and full of vitamins and which type of supplements are safe for children. With this information one can establish healthy eating habits for their child.

Discussing The Child’s Mental Health

Many children especially in the adolescents suffer from various mental issues such as anxiety, depression, lack of social behavior, struggling in school. It is important for a parent to address these concerns with the pediatrician and seek necessary help.

Scheduling Next Appointment

One should not forget to take the next appointment as the child can eventually fall behind on their well-visits and it would become hard to get an appointment later.

Sunshine Pediatrics

Sunshine pediatrics is committed to ensure children receive a high-quality pediatric care. Our comprehensive approach ensures that your child is well taken care of, making care convenient and affordable to all. Located in Westfield, Indiana we are a part of a vibrant community of doctors who are dedicated to achieving the safety and well-being of infants, adolescents and young adults. We partner along with parents to create a trusted environment and nurture a doctor-patient relationship. Sunshine pediatrics is your trusted pediatric clinic ensuring your child gets the best optimal care 24/7. We offer same-day sick appointments ensuring a speedy recovery. Contact us today to be a part of the growing family at SUNSHINE PEDIATRICS.
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