Well-child visits play an important role in maintaining a child’s physical, mental and emotional health. While parents don’t hesitate to take their child to the pediatrician if they are sick or injured, there can be a tendency to skip a child’s checkup if there aren’t any visible symptoms of illness.
Well-Child Checkup Guidelines and Benefits
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a specific set of health assessments and screenings that should take place, from infancy through adolescence, at well-child visits that follow this schedule:
- 3 to 5 days old
- 1 month old
- 2 months old
- 4 months old
- 6 months old
- 9 months old
- 12 months old
- 15 months old
- 18 months old
- 2 years old (24 months)
- 2 ½ years old (30 months)
- 3 years old
- Every year thereafter to the age of 21
The Benefits of Well-Child Visits
Regular checkups are important for children and young adults and can provide important information to their parents. Four primary reasons parents should schedule and keep their child’s well visits include:
- Growth and development tracking. By seeing your child regularly, your doctor can determine if they are developing as expected, both physically and behaviorally. If any issues are suspected, more in-depth physical and cognitive tests can be performed so that any necessary treatment can be provided.
- Illness and accident prevention. From immunizations to information about diet, physical activity, and personal safety, your child’s pediatrician can provide a wealth of insights on how they can avoid getting sick or injured.
- The latest information on important health topics. Well-child visits tend to be longer than other appointments so that your child’s doctor has more time to answer your questions about anything from health concerns to relationships and social interactions.
- Trust building. It is important that you, your child and your pediatrician maintain a positive and open relationship. Ensuring that your child attends recommended well-child visits helps build their trust and comfort level with their healthcare provider.
What to Expect at a Well-Child Visit
At a checkup, the pediatrician will have a conversation with your child and perform a physical exam, the goals of which are to:
- Chart your child’s growth and development and compare it to statistical averages
- Look for signs of injury or illness
- Provide immunizations, as needed
- Assess your child’s mental and emotional health
- Answer any questions you or your child have about their health and wellness
The doctor can also provide information on resources to help with any educational or social challenges if needed.
Well-child visits are a powerful tool for helping your child reach their full potential for health and happiness.