Is your child celebrating another trip around the sun? Congratulations! As you put the finishing touches on their cake and cross last-minute things off the birthday checklist, make sure to add their well-check appointment to the list.
Well-Child Visits Are Crucial to Health and Development
In the first year of your child’s life, it may seem like you are in and out of the primary care office quite a bit. However, as they get older and the years go by, you may begin to see their doctor only when your child is sick. But don’t forget about your child’s once-a-year well-check (or well-child) appointment.
The first 18 years of your child’s life are monumental—full of immense growth and development. Making a routine annual well-check appointment is crucial to their health and development.
“It’s important for every child to have an annual check-up even if they seem healthy,” said Gina Montion, MD, a pediatrician with Banner Health Center in Phoenix, Arizona. “Routine well-check appointments are critical to ensure your child’s growth is healthy and to help identify potential physical and developmental problems early when treatments and therapies can be most helpful.”
We caught up with Dr. Montion, who explained what to expect at your child’s well-check visit and how to best prepare.
What Happens During A Well-Check?
During every well-check appointment, your child’s doctor will:
- Check their vitals, like blood pressure, height, and weight, to ensure proper growth and development
- Perform a physical examination and screen for any areas of concern that may require further evaluation
- Give any necessary immunizations or vaccinations
- Discuss your child’s milestones, social behaviors, learning, and safety planning
- Answer any questions you or your child may have
What Should You Bring to the Visit?
- Books and toys. It is a good idea to bring books or toys to keep younger children entertained, especially if you have a longer than normal wait.
- Shot records. It’s important to keep a good record of your child’s immunizations and vaccinations, as this is often required for certain schools, childcare centers, and camps.
- Questions. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Your child’s doctor can give you valuable advice on things like potty training, safety at home or school, and more.
- Treat or reward. If your child is getting a lot of shots or waiting patiently for a long time, you can give them a small treat afterward.
Can I Delay or Spread Out My Child’s Immunizations?
Although it may seem like delaying or spreading out your child’s immunizations would be okay to do, doing so can leave your child unprotected.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a range of vaccinations for your child. The purpose is to protect them by providing immunity early in life, before they are exposed to potentially life-threatening diseases.
“The current CDC recommended schedule has been extensively studied and decided upon to be the safest and most effective way to get children vaccinated as soon as they can,” Dr. Montion said. “This is what is recommended as well by every major medical society including the American Academy of Pediatrics. There have been no studies to support that the immune system would be overwhelmed by getting multiple vaccines together.”
A Final Reminder
While it may seem like yet another thing to add to your to-do list, ensuring your child’s health and well-being is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. Are you looking for a primary care provider for your child? To find a provider near you, visit bannerhealth.com.
Update – July 24, 2020: To keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic there are certain safety precautions that you will need to take when visiting your child’s doctor. Most likely, you will be asked to wear a mask once you enter the building and for your entire visit. Please call your child’s primary care provider for additional information regarding their safety requirements prior to your visit.