Seeing a pediatrician (children’s doctor) isn’t just for when your child is sick. Your child should see their pediatrician when they are well, too. These visits are important to make sure they are growing and developing correctly, and also give you a chance to ask health questions as your child gets older.
At Banner Children’s, we understand the importance of regular well-child visits. Our dedicated team is here to provide care for your family through every stage of life.
What are well-child checkups?
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), well-child visits are designed as a way for health care providers and parents to work together to serve the needs of children.
Well-child visits help you and your child’s pediatrician:
- Track growth and development: Regular checkups help monitor your child’s growth, including height, weight and head circumference. Your pediatrician will also check developmental milestones, such as motor skills, speech and cognitive abilities.
- Prevent illness and injuries: Well-child visits are a chance to talk about immunizations or vaccinations and make sure your child is up to date. They also allow your provider to talk to you about nutrition, general safety concerns and your child’s overall well-being.
- Build a relationship: These checkups help establish a trusting partnership between you and your child’s health care team. In this supportive environment, you should feel free to ask any questions about your child’s health and development and share successes and milestones.
What happens during well-child visits?
During each well-child visit, your pediatrician will check every part of your child’s health.
Here are some key areas they focus on:
- Physical exam: Measure their vitals (like blood pressure, height and weight) to make sure they’re on track for proper growth and development.
- Developmental screening: Check your child’s developmental milestones, language skills and cognitive abilities.
- Vaccinations: Vaccines protect your child against serious illnesses. Your pediatrician will explain the recommended vaccines, answer any questions you may have and make sure your child is up-to-date. Download the vaccination schedule for children and teens recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Nutrition and exercise: Provide tips on age-appropriate nutrition and physical activity to help build healthy habits.
- Safety and injury prevention: Address any safety concerns, such as car seat usage and home safety. For teens, it may include questions about alcohol and drug use and high-risk behavior.
How often should my child see their pediatrician?
The timing of well-child visits varies depending on your child’s age and specific needs. Visits usually follow these guidelines from AAP:
- Infants: During the first year of life, it is recommended to visit at 3 to 5 days old, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months and 12 months.
- Toddlers and preschoolers: From 15 months to 4 years old, it is recommended to visit at 15 months, 18 months, 2 years, 30 months (2-1/2 years), 3 years and 4 years.
- Elementary school-age children: An annual well-child visit is recommended for children between 5 and 10 years old.
- Preteens and teenagers (adolescents): Starting around age 11, annual visits are recommended to address the unique health concerns of tweens and teens.
Childhood is a time of huge transformation - physically and mentally. Your pediatrician will spend time with you and your child in the same room, but may also spend a few minutes alone with your child. Learn about when your child should switch from pediatric to adult health care.
Frequently asked questions
Can I delay or spread out my child’s vaccinations?
No studies support the idea that the immune system may be overwhelmed if your child gets multiple vaccines at the same time. Although it may seem like it’s fine to delay or spread out your child’s immunizations, it can leave your child unprotected against certain diseases.
Are well-child visits covered by insurance?
In the United States, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) states that most health insurance plans must cover certain preventative health services for children at no cost. This includes regular visits when your child is a baby, vaccines and annual visits until your child reaches age 21 and many more tests and services.
What should I bring to a well-child visit?
Please bring your child’s immunization (shot) record, any medical forms or documents you need the pediatrician to review (such as school or sports health forms) and a list of questions you would like to discuss.
How do I find a pediatrician for my child?
Whether you’re growing a family or switching providers, finding the right family doctor or pediatrician to care for your child is important. Watch these videos to learn some helpful tips you can use when picking a provider for your child.
Banner Children’s caring staff is here to help you through every phase of your child’s life.