What happens at a well-child visit?

A well-child visit is a check-up visit with a child’s pediatrician, family doctor, or other primary care provider. These appointments happen regularly at scheduled times, rather than when a child is sick. You might be used to only going to your healthcare provider when you’re sick or hurt, but there are many things Baby needs that he will receive at well-child visits.

Immunizations

Because you can’t always get immunized when you’re sick, well-child visits are important for keeping Baby‘s vaccines up to date. Vaccines protect against certain diseases, many of which can have serious complications for young children. Some vaccines only require a single shot, and others will need a series of doses. The good news is that many vaccines work for an entire lifetime. Check with your healthcare provider to find out what immunization schedule your child needs and what vaccines he will get before starting daycare or school.

Growth tracking

The good old notches-on-the-doorway technique is a classic, but tracking Baby‘s growth and development with a healthcare provider is a slightly more sophisticated way to see how your child is growing. At Baby‘s well-child visits, your healthcare provider will be able to give him physical exams and check his height and weight. You’ll be able to accurately see how much Baby has grown since his last visit, and talk with a professional about milestones and development.

Vision tests

Your child might appear to be the picture of health, but he could have invisible vision issues. It’s recommended that you have Baby‘s eyes checked once at six months old, once at three years old, once before he starts first grade, and then every two years after that. If Baby starts school with unknown vision problems, it could pose a learning challenge.

Hearing tests

As with vision tests, well-child visits are a great opportunity to check Baby‘s hearing. Baby should have had his hearing screened as part of his routine newborn tests if you gave birth in a hospital. For children who didn’t have newborn screenings, it’s recommended that a screening be done within the first three weeks after birth. This is because hearing problems are often easier to fix if they’re detected before children are three months old. If there aren’t any issues with Baby‘s hearing, he will probably have her ears checked every year or so at his well-child visits.

Prevention

Another great thing you can do at well-child visits is talk about how to keep Baby feeling well. Your healthcare provider can give you advice about nutrition, sleep, behavior, and any other questions you might have. It’s a great opportunity to voice your questions and concerns to a professional who knows your child and his medical history.

Well-child visits are also a great way to get Baby acquainted with seeing a healthcare provider. If you see the same person every time, you’ll both be able to get comfortable with them and build a lasting relationship.


Sources
  • “AAP Schedule of Well-Child Care Visits.” HealthyChildren.org. American Academy of Pediatrics. December 18, 2015. Web.
  • “Well-child visits.” MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine. February 5, 2015. Web.
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