Based on a recent study, children who miss their yearly well-child care visits are at an increased risk of hospitalization compared to equivalently healthy children who have their regularly scheduled well visits. You may ask, why should I bring my healthy child into the office, isn’t that for sick kids only? There are many reasons for infants, toddlers, children and adolescents to get regular physicals. Here are my top 10 reasons to take your kids to your pediatrician for their scheduled well visits:
- Growth – Well-child care allows your pediatrician to assess the growth of your child and determine if there are any abnormalities. Appropriate assessment and treatment can happen if there are issues. Lacking well-child care results in missing specific opportunities for intervention during a particular phase of your child’s growth.
- Development – Watching your child develop in multiple areas including speech, fine motor and gross motor skills, and social interaction is a huge priority through the early years. Well-child care is the best chance to keep track of young children’s development so that any delays can be found and appropriate therapies are put in place.
- Immunizations – Immunizations are perhaps the most important tool we have for protecting children (and adults) against disease. Regular checkups allow for kids to get the needed vaccines at the right time following the immunization protocol. Immunizations are not given when children are feverish and sick so well visits are the most opportune time for getting needed vaccines.
- Nutrition/Sleep/Elimination/Exercise – Well-child care gives a great opportunity to discuss all these normal bodily functions and intervene where necessary.
- Physical Exam – A routine physical exam can be a great tool to pick up on changes that may not have been seen or discovered by the patient or their parents. Whether it is a new heart murmur, a changing mole on the skin, ear wax buildup, etc., these issues are often found during routine physical exams.
- Getting Questions Answered – Well-child care visits are great times to discuss questions about your child with your pediatrician and get some advice and guidance from an experienced provider.
- Chronic Illness Update – Based on the study results, well-child care was even more important for kids with chronic illness in keeping them healthy and out of the hospital.
- Refilling Medications – A well visit is the perfect opportunity to get refills for your child’s chronic medications, should they need them for some reason. This could be as simple as fluoride for your child’s teeth or medicine to combat allergies.
- Recommendations for Safety – Safety is a big concern for kids and their parents, and well-child care gives them the opportunity to talk to their pediatrician about specific activities and how to do them as safely as possible.
- Developing a Relationship with Your Physician – It’s important to give your pediatrician the chance to know both you and your child so that they have a good baseline to recognize if changes are occurring. This especially holds true for kids with chronic illness.
For more information your child’s healthcare needs, talk to your physician or visit mountnittany.org.