Whether your kids are already back in school or enjoying their last couple weeks of summer vacation, it’s a great time to get your kid in for a child wellness exam.
As much as children may protest going to the doctor, yearly well checks are an important part of making sure your child stays as healthy as can be.
It's important for every child to have annual checkups even if they seem healthy.
“This visit is also a good time for your doctor to connect with both you and your child. Annual health exams are a great way for us to make certain your child is growing and developing normally and are important because we can screen for medical problems such as weight issues, vision problems, diabetes, heart disease and more,” said Kirsten Storey, DO, pediatrician for Banner Health.
Typical back-to-school checkups vary from state to state, and different school districts may have different requirements. However, among the basics a doctor will check are height, weight and blood pressure and how these compare to their peers. These checkups may also include hearing and vision tests. If your child has an acute or chronic illness, such as a food allergy or asthma, be sure to talk to your child’s doctor about your care regimen.
“This visit is also a great time to get all paper work filled out for school. If your child plays sports, he or she may need to have special forms completed to allow him or her to play,” Dr. Storey said. A sports physical includes a physical examination and medical history, including previous hospitalizations, past injuries and more. You should also be ready to answer questions about your family’s medical history.
Depending on your child’s age, a checkup may also include some immunizations. Again, the state or the school board may have certain requirements for what vaccinations your child will need, so be sure to check to see what your child will need.
Typically, the first set of required school vaccinations occurs for children between the ages of 4 and 6.
“No one likes getting shots, but they help keep us from getting sick when we are around a lot of other people, like when we are starting to go to school,” Storey said.
The first set of booster immunizations are given between ages 4 and 6. These shots include DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis – also known as whooping cough), MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), varicella (chicken pox), polio, and depending on the time of year maybe a flu shot.
Before entering the seventh grade and usually between the ages of 11 and 12, your child will require another vaccination booster. This one is for tetanus and diphtheria, if it has been longer than five years since the initial shot.
“Now is a great time to schedule your child’s annual health exam to avoid the rush,” Storey said.
Visit a Banner Health Center near you.