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The Importance of Well Child Checks (WCC)

Parents know who they should go to when their child is sick, but pediatrician visits are just as important for healthy children. Our pediatrician will review your child’s growth since the last visit and talk with you about your child’s development. These visits are a time to review and discuss each of the important areas of your child’s development, including physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. Another benefit of a well-child visit is the opportunity to talk about prevention. For many children in the United States, the most common cause of harm is a preventable injury or illness. The well-child visit is an opportunity to review critical strategies to protect your child from injury, such as reviewing car seat use and safe firearm storage. The well-child visit is an opportunity to ensure your child is protected from infectious diseases by reviewing and updating his or her immunizations. If there is a family history of a particular illness, parents can discuss strategies to prevent that illness for their child. Healthy behaviors are important to instill at a young age, and the well-child visit is a time to review these important behaviors, such as sleep, nutrition, and physical activity.

During the teenage years, well-child visits offer adolescents an opportunity to take steps toward independence and responsibility over their own health behaviors. Every well-child visit with a teenager should include time spent alone with the pediatrician so that the adolescent has the opportunity to ask and answer questions about their health. Adolescent visits provide an opportunity for teenagers to address important questions, including substance use, sexual behavior, and mental health concerns.

Physical examination and screening tests are also a part of the well-child visit. Your child’s visit may include checking blood pressure level, vision, or hearing. Your pediatrician will do a physical examination, which may include listening to the lungs and feeling the abdomen. Screening tests can include tests for anemia, lead exposure, or tuberculosis. Some screening, such as for depression or anxiety, is done using a paper form or online assessment.

Here are some of the benefits of well-child visits:

  • Prevention. Your child gets scheduled immunizations to prevent illness. You also can ask your pediatrician about nutrition and safety in the home and at school.

  • Tracking growth and development. See how much your child has grown in the time since your last visit, and talk with your doctor about your child’s development. You can discuss your child’s milestones, social behaviors and learning.

  • Raising concerns. Make a list of topics you want to talk about with your child’s pediatrician such development, behavior, sleep, eating or relations with other family members. Present your top three to five questions or concerns to the pediatrician at the start of the visit.

  • Team approach. Regular visits create strong, trustworthy relationships among pediatrician, parent and child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports well-child visits as a way for pediatricians and parents to serve the needs of children. This team approach helps develop optimal physical, mental and social health of a child.

The AAP has updated its schedule for well-child care visits. Schedule your child’s visits at the following ages:

  • 2 to 5 days

  • 1 month

  • 2 months

  • 4 months

  • 6 months

  • 9 months

  • 12 months

  • 15 months

  • 18 months

  • 2 years old

  • 2½ years old

  • 3 years

  • Once every year thereafter for a physical examination and other assessments.

Here are some of the benefits of well-child visits:

  • Prevention. Your child gets scheduled immunizations to prevent illness. You also can ask your pediatrician about nutrition and safety in the home and at school.

  • Tracking growth and development. See how much your child has grown in the time since your last visit, and talk with your doctor about your child’s development. You can discuss your child’s milestones, social behaviors and learning.

  • Raising concerns. Make a list of topics you want to talk about with your child’s pediatrician such development, behavior, sleep, eating or relations with other family members. Present your top three to five questions or concerns to the pediatrician at the start of the visit.

  • Team approach. Regular visits create strong, trustworthy relationships among pediatrician, parent and child. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports well-child visits as a way for pediatricians and parents to serve the needs of children. This team approach helps develop optimal physical, mental and social health of a child.

The AAP has updated its schedule for well-child care visits. Schedule your child’s visits at the following ages:

  • 2 to 5 days

  • 1 month

  • 2 months

  • 4 months

  • 6 months

  • 9 months

  • 12 months

  • 15 months

  • 18 months

  • 2 years old

  • 2½ years old

  • 3 years

  • Once every year thereafter for a physical examination and other assessments

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