What's a Well-Child Visit?

As a parent, you want to do all you can to help your child stay healthy. And it certainly makes sense to take your child to the doctor at the first sign of illness. But what many parents don’t realize is just how important it is to see the pediatrician when your child isn’t sick. In fact, well-child visits form the cornerstone of pediatric healthcare, helping your child avoid serious illnesses while also identifying potential problems in their earliest stages. Here’s what happens during a well-child visit — and why wellness appointments are so important for your child

What happens during a well-child visit?

Well-child visits are very similar to the physical exams you have as an adult. But because your child is still growing, there are a few key differences. As with your own physical exam, a well-child visit starts with a review of your child’s medical history, as well as a discussion of any symptoms or concerns you or your child may have. 

Next, your child will have a comprehensive physical exam that checks your child’s height and weight, their temperature, their lungs and heart, and their blood pressure. Dr. Umesh Kodu or Jamie Weis, MSN, CPNP will gently palpate (press or feel) your child’s tummy area to check for any areas of swelling or other abnormalities. They’ll look at your child’s ears and throat, and they might even perform a basic hearing or vision exam, depending on your child’s needs. 

Once that part of the exam is done, the Penguin Pediatrics team might recommend blood tests or vaccinations, depending on your child’s age and other factors. Vaccinations play a very important role in your child’s health (and in your health, too), supplementing your child’s natural immunity, so they can fight off serious and sometimes even life-threatening diseases, like measles or mumps.

Depending on your child’s age, the Penguin Pediatrics PLLC team may use charts or other information to evaluate your child’s growth and development, making recommendations as needed to ensure they stay on track with their peers. Finally, the Penguin Pediatrics team may provide tips or recommendations to help your child enjoy the best health possible. And of course, you and your child will have plenty of time to ask questions about the results of the exam or any other health-related issues.

Why well-child visits are so important

The benefits of a sick-child appointment are obvious: Get treatment to make your child better. A well-child visit goes one better by helping you potentially prevent diseases in the first place. Well-child visits provide vaccinations so your child is immune to many serious diseases. But by comparing this year’s exam results to those of prior years, they also help identify subtle changes that could indicate an underlying problem. And by identifying problems early, that means your child can get treatment as soon as possible to help prevent those problems from fully developing. When you skip well-child visits, that gives underlying problems a chance to develop unchecked, and it also means your child won't be getting the care he or she needs for optimal growth and development.

Plus, by having annual well-child visits, the Penguin Pediatrics team can track your child’s development in other areas, helping ensure your child is on target physically, emotionally, intellectually, and socially. Through multiple in-office assessments, your Penguin Pediatrics team can determine if your child might need additional evaluations by specialists, or if he or she might benefit from special accommodations at school or in other aspects of life, like sports activities. Well-child visits are recommended on a yearly basis for kids beginning at two years of age, and more frequently for infants and toddlers. Childhood is a time of very rapid growth and development, and that means physical and emotional problems can develop quickly, too. And of course, seeing the doctor on a regular basis ensures that you, as a parent, have a ready resource to answer your questions, so you can feel confident you’re providing the best life for your child.

Help your child stay healthy

Having annual well-child visits at Penguin Pediatrics PLLC is one of the most important things you can do to help ensure your child has a healthy childhood while setting the stage for a healthy adulthood, too. To schedule your child’s wellness exam, book an appointment online today.

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