Summer is the perfect time for long-awaited pool parties, vacations, barbecues and an annual well-child visit. Scheduling well-child appointments during your child’s summer break not only works great in your schedule (and keeps your child from missing classes), but it’s essential to make sure they’re developing normally.
Annual well-child visits are for children ages 0 to 21. These visits give your doctor an opportunity to exam your child and determine if all their nutrition, safety and emotional needs are being met. It’s also a critical opportunity to detect a possible developmental delay or disability – early treatment of which can lessen the future impact on both the child and family.
What Happens At A Well-Child Visit?
Your child’s doctor will do a basic physical exam which includes looking at your child’s hips, knees and ankles, mouth and teeth, eyes, ears and nose, heart, abdomen, skin and possibly genitalia to assess sexual maturity. Your physician will ask about medical history, take measurements, such as height, weight, blood pressure, sensory screening of vision and hearing and a dental referral, if needed.
Any immunizations needed will be given as well. It is recommended that school-age children, those 7 – 18, receive immunizations for meningococcal, tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis and HPV, at the very least. Some children may be at risks for certain diseases and your doctor may suggest vaccinations for pneumococcal and hepatitis A.
Your doctor will also ask about social and family history, including any changes since the last visit. These questions can help your physician determine if there are any concerns with behavior, sleep, eating or getting along with family members.
Exams For Young Athletes
Scheduling a well-child visit during the summer puts you ahead of the game for fall sports physicals. For a young athlete, this annual exam should be similar to one for any other child but most pediatricians and family doctors will also address some sports-specific issues, including injuries, nutrition and training and exercise programs. The doctor will also discuss overuse and overtraining with student athletes, which can cause injuries. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the timeframe for getting this exam should be at least six weeks prior to the start of the sport’s season. This allows ample time to work up any new health concerns or rehab any lingering injuries before the season starts, without delaying clearance of the athlete.
Foster A Long, Healthy Relationship
Well-child visits go beyond making sure your child stays healthy; they also create strong, trustworthy relationships between doctor, parent and child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends these visits as a way for both pediatricians and parents to serve the needs of children. Call our office to schedule well-child visits for your little ones today.