Well-child visits are designed to “emphasize the great importance of continuity of care in comprehensive health supervision and the need to avoid fragmentation of care,” says the American Academy of Pediatrics.
They typically begin shortly after birth and should continue all the way through adolescence, until the child turns 21. Pediatricians recommend multiple visits per year until age 3 and annual visits for after that.
Each visit includes a complete physical exam, during which the healthcare provider checks your child’s weight, height and other vital information. They’ll also examine your child’s growth and development to identify potential problems. Immunizations, certain screenings, like spot vision test, hearing test, fluoride varnish and other preventive care may also be included depending on your child’s age.
Your pediatrician will track your baby’s head growth and ask about eating habits, sleeping habits, urination, bowel movements and behavior. You’ll have the opportunity to seek guidance on when and how to start your baby on solid foods. Most visits during this time include some sort of vaccination CDC recommended vaccines (CDC recommended vaccines). In office procedures include:
- Social Interaction
- Lead Testing
During the toddler years, your healthcare provider will pay special attention to growth and developmental stages to watch for any unusual developments.
At this age, the pediatrician may begin regularly checking your child’s blood pressure and talking to your child to develop a growing relationship and to listen for speech patterns.
As your child grows older, expect to add a variety of new screenings to the routine.
As your child reaches adolescence, healthcare providers may address a variety of topics such as:
- Physical activity
- Social interaction
- Spinal Screening
- Smoking, alcohol and drugs
- Safe sex
An annual well-child visit plays a crucial role in preventing illness, promoting your child’s well-being, and keeping you informed about your child’s development.