The Importance of Well Checks for Kids
Nurse Practitioners, Alicia Frith and Julie Martin are the owners of Dragonfly Pediatrics in Midland. They explain how vital well checks are for children regardless of their age.
News Flash! Well child checks are not just for receiving vaccines!
The early years of a child’s life are important to their lifelong health and development. School aged children, ages 5-10 years, do not normally receive yearly vaccines. Parents often tend to forget about scheduling yearly well child exams.
A well child exam, also called an annual physical or check-up, is a preventative measure and a time for communication with your medical provider. According to American Academy of Pediatrics, annual physical exams dramatically reduce risks of potentially missed diagnoses (yikes!) (1).
Yearly well child examinations are essential for many reasons, including:
Tracking growth and developmental milestones, social behaviors, learning and emotional health.
Discussing any concerns about your child’s physical and mental health, unrelated to “sick” appointments.
Screening for diseases and assessing risk of future medical problems.
Following up with chronic health conditions.
Encouraging a healthy lifestyle; the importance of a healthy diet, exercise, and weight management.
Getting scheduled vaccinations to prevent illnesses like measles and whooping cough (pertussis) and 12 other serious and life-threatening diseases.
Well child examinations are also a good way for children and their parents to develop a trusting relationship with their provider. When difficult subjects come up, it is easier to talk with someone you know and trust verses a relative stranger!
Some helpful websites:
American Academy of Pediatrics “Healthy Children” - AAP Schedule of Well-Child Care Visits - HealthyChildren.org
American Academy of Pediatrics / Bright Futures – The Well Child Visit – Why to Go and What to Expect. BF_Family_Tipsheet.pdf (aap.org)
American Academy of Pediatrics / Bright Futures - Well-Child Visits: Parent and Patient Education (aap.org)
Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine and Bright Futures Periodicity Schedule Workgroup. 2020 Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care. Pediatrics 2020;145; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2020-0013 originally published online February 18, 2020; http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/145/3/e20200013