What To Expect From Well Child Visits

As a parent, you should never overlook your child’s health. It’s because even a current minor health issue can become a significant problem in the future. It is why a well-child visit is necessary not only when they’re ill but also when they’re well. 

Fortunately, most healthcare service providers like rexburgpediatrics.com provide scheduled visits just by calling them, making it easy for you to schedule an appointment regularly. There are various things to expect from a well-child visit. But before anything else, it’s essential to understand what a well-child visit is and why it matters.

What To Know About Well-Child Visits

A well-child visit, also known as a check-up, is a preventive health appointment. It’s an appointment that you need to schedule even though your child seems healthy. This way, a healthcare professional like a pediatrician can easily monitor your child’s growth and development and spot early signs of an illness or medical condition before it becomes severe. 

Well-child visits are also vital to ensure your child gets the necessary vaccinations to participate in sports, attend school, and attend daycare. Visiting a healthcare provider also allows you to manage your child’s health, ask different questions, and get expert answers regarding your child’s well-being and overall health. 

Delaying a well-child visit may put your little angel at a greater risk of health issues. So if you want to ensure your child is well and healthy, don’t forget to schedule a well-child visit regularly.

Things To Expect From Well-Child Visits

A well-child visit is the cornerstone of pediatric healthcare, enabling your child to prevent grave illnesses by identifying possible health issues as early as possible. During a well-child visit, here are the things you can expect:

  1. Physical Examination

Every well-child visit typically includes a weight and height check. Doctors will also measure your child’s head size if they are below two years old. As a parent, expect the following to be included in the physical exam:

  • Weight

Weight matters when measuring your child’s body mass index (BMI). Doctors put such numbers on a growth chart to measure your child’s height and weight for their age compared to other children in the same age group. It shows if your child is growing proportionately and on the right track.

  • Height 

Generally, the height is measured with your child lying down on the bed and legs stretched straight during the first months of their existence. As your child becomes older and reaches age two, height is measured while they are standing.

  • Head Size

Your child’s head grows faster during the first two years. The rate of your child’s head growth and size are essential. Such measurements allow the doctor to determine whether a child’s brain and skull are developing normally.

  • Blood Pressure

Usually, doctors take blood pressure measurements for children ages three and above. The normal values for blood pressure may change depending on the child’s gender, height, and age. 

Keep in mind that the average blood pressure of children is lower than that of adults. In young kids, increased blood pressure can be due to anxiety, crying, and coughing. Children may also have high blood pressure for other reasons, but often, it’s due to heart or kidney problems.

  • Growth

At every visit, your child’s weight, head size, and height are compared to the normal values of children of the same sex and age. The measurements are often plotted on a growth chart, which tells the doctor about your child’s general nutrition and health. 

Though children grow at various rates, it’s essential to ensure steady growth. There can be short children who grow steadily, which is normal if your genes are naturally short. However, kids who lose weight or stop growing are a worry. Depending on your child’s growth pattern, the doctor will recommend the best possible solutions or treatments to help your child grow normally.

  • Eyes

During a well-child visit, a doctor also checks your child’s eyes. These healthcare professionals use a lighted instrument known as an ophthalmoscope to assess their pupils. They perform this to look for potential problems inside your children’s eyes, like a tumor or cataract. Doctors also check your child’s eyes for visible issues like excessive tearing. 

When your child reaches the age of three, the doctor will check their vision. Some eye diseases are hereditary. So, tell your doctor if you have a medical history of vision problems. Depending on your child’s eye condition, doctors may refer you to an ophthalmologist for necessary treatment.

  • Ears

Doctors check the children’s ears for signs of fluid behind the eardrum or infection. An ear infection is common in younger kids. When left untreated, it may cause problems with hearing and speech.  

The doctors also check the ears thoroughly to ensure they don’t miss a silent ear infection. If you have concerns regarding your child’s hearing, don’t hesitate to discuss them with your healthcare provider.

  • Mouth, Nose, And Throat

The doctor checks the child’s nose for signs of chronic infection or allergy. Your doctor may also check your child’s throat for signs of infection or enlarged tonsils.

When examining your child’s mouth, your doctor will look at their gums and teeth condition. However, you must remember that your doctor’s examination of your kid’s teeth doesn’t substitute for a visit to your dentist. By age two, children must start regular dental check-ups.

  • Chest And Lungs

The doctor will listen to, feel, and look at your child’s chest during the lung and chest examination. They’ll also observe their breathing rate and shallow and deep breathing. A stethoscope is used to listen for abnormal or normal breathing sounds.

  • Neck

The doctors check some things during a neck exam. They ensure your child’s head can quickly move up and down and from side to side. They will also feel your child’s neck for bumps or lumps, which may entail swollen lymph nodes or an enlarged thyroid gland. 

If the doctor detects swollen lymph nodes behind your child’s ear, it may suggest ear infections. On the contrary, if the swollen lymph nodes are found at the back of your child’s neck, it may indicate a scalp infection.

  • Heart

Using a stethoscope, doctors will listen for abnormal or normal heartbeat. Most kids have a heart murmur, but it doesn’t always indicate a serious health problem. However, the doctor will refer your child to a heart specialist for further assessment if it’s serious.

  • Skeletal System

The doctor checks for various skeletal issues at different ages. During an early well-child visit, the doctor checks the child’s skeletal system to ensure they don’t have to experience problems with abnormal hip joints. 

Doctors know how crucial it is to treat hip problems immediately to prevent surgery in the future. They’ll also check your child’s feet and legs. Their cramped position during your pregnancy may cause the feet’s incurving and legs to appear a bit bowed. However, these problems are not permanent and can be outgrown.  

In older children, joint and bone problems are often due to sports injuries. One common skeletal health issue that the doctor check is scoliosis, which causes your child’s back to curve.  

Often, some schools screen for scoliosis, and parents need their children to undergo a positive screening test. The reason behind it is that scoliosis should be diagnosed early for proper treatment. It can also be progressive when left untreated.

  • Abdomen

By pressing down on your child’s abdominal wall, the doctor will learn whether their liver and spleen are enlarged or normal in size. When the doctor presses deeper, they’re checking your child’s kidney size and assessing if there are bumps or lumps. 

While the abdomen examination can be uncomfortable, especially for school-age kids and preschoolers, it is crucial for their health. Just ensure your child’s abdominal muscles are relaxed so the doctor can easily check for abnormalities. The doctor may also use a stethoscope to hear the sounds of food moving or fluid through the bowel. It helps them evaluate whether or not your child’s intestines are functioning normally.

  • Skin

At every visit, the doctor may examine your child’s skin for infection, birthmarks, changes in moles, bruising, and rashes. The skin may give the first sign of an illness like nervous system problems and leukemia.

During your child’s teen years, acne can be a major concern. When your child has acne problems, doctors will recommend solutions to ensure your child won’t end up with permanent scarring. Sometimes, a physician may refer you to the best dermatologist, depending on your child’s acne issues.

  1. Discussion Of Recommended Vaccines

An early childhood vaccine administration is one of the ways to keep your child safe from preventable viruses or illnesses. Once your child gets the necessary vaccines, you can help keep your community and family healthy. 

It’s crucial for parents to have accurate vaccine records of their children, and pediatricians may assist you in keeping track of them. During a well-child visit, you can also ask about the specifics of immunizations. 

Generally, immunization safeguards your child from severe illness and vaccine-preventable diseases. Some of these include brain damage, Hepatitis B, hearing loss, amputation of arms or legs, brain malfunction, and paralysis of limbs.

  1. Answering Questions Related To Your Child’s Development And Health

If you don’t want to miss anything during a well-child visit, create a list of questions you want to ask. The doctor can answer anything about your child’s health and development. You can ask any questions you want so long as they’re related to your child’s health. For example, your questions may include your child’s sleep concerns and mood issues.

  1. Talking About Wellness, Physical Fitness, Illness Prevention, And Nutrition

A healthy body weight, active lifestyle, and good nutrition are essential for one’s overall well-being and health. Regular exercise and healthy eating habits are more likely to stay with your children once they learn them as early as possible. Pediatricians are also an excellent source of information about how to keep your entire family healthy.

How To Make The Most Out Of Well-Child Visits

Skipped healthcare visits may mean savings for some parents. However, it has a significant consequence on your child’s health. As a parent, you should prioritize a well-child visit to keep your child healthy and strong. To make the most out of a well-child visit, follow these tips:    

  • Be Prepared

Keep track of well-child visits by placing them on your calendar. This way, you won’t forget about your appointment, and prepare a bag with your child’s necessities, such as wipes and diapers. Being prepared can also help alleviate stress for both child and parent. 

  • Bring Another Caregiver

Another thing you can do to make the most out of a well-child visit is to bring another caregiver or adult with you. They are handy if you have a toddler and want to focus on the expert advice of your pediatrician. Having someone to watch over your child makes it easy for you to pay attention to what the doctor says about your child’s health.

  • Create A List

Before your appointment, try creating a list of concerns or questions you might have about your child’s behavior, development, and health. That way, your physician can address your concerns and give you advice for your kid’s specific needs.

  • Bring Toys Or Books To Keep Your Child Busy

To prevent boredom or meltdowns, bring along something to help keep your child occupied while waiting. Depending on your child’s preferences, you can bring books or toys.

  • Be Honest And Open

During a well-child visit, be sure to be open regarding the issues of your child and share milestones and successes. Being honest and open with your doctor will enable them to see the entire picture of your child’s needs and provide you with the best recommendations possible.

Final Thoughts

Regular well-child visits play a critical role in improving your child’s well-being. Such check-ups help prevent possible illnesses and keep you updated regarding your child’s overall development. So, schedule well-child visits whenever possible to ensure your child is healthy. However, to enjoy the benefits of a well-child visit, settle with the best healthcare provider in your area.

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