The Value of Well-Child Care Visits
By: Julia Atkins, M.D.
Golden View Family Medicine
Most of us know the importance of seeing your child's medical provider when they are sick, but regularly scheduled visits for healthy kids are just as important in the detection of health conditions, answer your questions and provide you with peace of mind.
The benefits of well-child visits are many and include:
Discussion and administration of appropriate immunizations to prevent illnesses, especially if you have questions or concerns about the many different vaccinations available. Your family doctor can help review guidelines and recommendations to help you keep your child healthy. There is a lot of misinformation out there about vaccines - who better to ask and trust than your Family Doctor or Family Nurse Practitioner/Physician Assistant!
Assessment of growth and development at every stage of childhood and adolescence to make sure your child is growing consistently. Recommended visits in the child's first 2 years include a newborn visit within the first 2 weeks, and at 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 and 24 months. After 24 months,, yearly visits are recommended. We encourage annual visits through adolescence, as there are many issues that can also arise during these challenging years. By tracking milestones and growth curves, we can intervene sooner if there are any delays or concerns.
Counseling children and parents about nutrition, exercise, safety and injury prevention, as well as behavioral issues. We discuss concerns like sleep problems, thumb sucking, picky eating, and "screen time" (exposure to TVs, computers, mobile devices and phones, to name a few), and provide sound advice on how to approach these common issues.
Using your child's birthday as a reference point might be a good way to stay on track, rather than trying to fit visits in during the rush of a new school year. Routine well-visits help create strong relationships between family physicians/primary care providers and young families. It builds a trusting environment to serve the needs of our children together, and assure they develop optimal physical, emotional and social health.