When a child is sick, it’s time to see your pediatrician. But you may not realize it’s just as important to take your healthy child for a visit.
These are called “Well-Child Visits.” They give the pediatrician a chance to detect disease, help prevent issues, track growth and development, and get a good measure of possible concerns.
“I want to see your child before there’s an illness or a problem,” said Dr. Kenneth Thomas, SHS Chief Medical Officer and a pediatrician. “There’s a good chance we can prevent a problem or an emergency before it even shows up – if we get the chance.”
Well-child visits are a best practice widely recommended by medical professionals, including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Institutes of Health.
In the visits, pediatricians take preventive measures like administering immunizations and conduct numerous screenings, including dental, hearing, vision, lead poisoning and others.
The visits also give parents a chance to ask questions. It’s a good idea for parents come to the well-child visit with an agenda of topics.
“I welcome the opportunity to talk with parents about their kids,” said Dr. Thomas. “I want parents to feel free to talk with me about anything unusual or anything they’re uncertain about in their child’s behavior, growth or habits. It helps us build a team to focus on what that child needs.”
Building that long-term relationship is valuable, giving the pediatrician insights to help parents anticipate their child’s specific needs. Common questions cover topics like sleep habits, potty training, nutrition, exercise and social behavior.
“We anticipate what’s coming next in a child’s development,” Dr. Thomas said. “For example, for a six-month old, the focus will be on preparing for the child’s crawling stage – removing hazards and creating a safe home.”
Well-child visits are especially important if the child has a chronic condition like asthma, eczema or allergies.
“We can avoid potential problems if we stay caught up,” said Dr. Thomas. “We can refill prescriptions and manage the child’s condition better if we’ve had regular contact via a well-child visit.”
Experts recommend regular well-child visits, starting with frequent visits in the first year – within a few days of birth and then at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 24 and 30 months. After age 3, children should see a doctor at least once a year throughout their teen years. Well-child visits may be required by Medicaid or some other insurance plans.
- American Academy of Pediatrics “Bright Futures”
- Centers for Disease Control & Prevention Parent Information
- CDC’s “Milestone Moments”
- Routine Schedule for Vaccinations
Help your kids start the New Year off in a healthy way – bring them in for a Well-Child Visit. Call 816-923-5800 to schedule your appointment now.