A major misconception that parents have is that well-child visits are only necessary when your child needs vaccinations or school/sports physicals. In reality, well-child visits are the most important visits that families can have with their pediatric provider.

Each child experiences a unique, different mental and physical developmental process, and wellness checkups help providers detect any medical and behavioral health issues early on. They also allow providers to be up-to-date with vaccinations and provide a chance for you and your child to voice any concerns you may have. They are an important way of tracking your child’s health – physically, emotionally, and socially.

What To Expect During a Well-Child Visit

Each well-child visit is tailored to your child’s age and developmental stage, and typically covers:

  • Height and weight measurements
  • Growth milestones and how they compare with standard growth curves
  • Developmental milestones
  • Vital signs including blood pressure and heart rate
  • Eating and eliminating habits
  • Exercise habits
  • Behavioral issues
  • Vaccinations
  • Routine blood and urine screens

The visits can also include a comprehensive physical exam, including vision and hearing screenings, when appropriate. Additionally, it can include other age-appropriate screening tests.

These visits can also serve as an opportunity to discuss other issues like car seat safety, sun safety, and water safety. Your provider will discuss school and daycare situations to make sure that your child is progressing appropriately for their age. Pediatricians, affiliated with TopLine MD Alliance, follow the Bright Futures Guidelines for well-child care, which gives us a schedule of screens and assessments recommended at each well-child visit – from infancy through adolescence.

During the well-child visit, your provider should be able to determine if your child has any health concerns and help you prevent your child from developing health concerns. It may be tempting to skip these visits if your child seems healthy, but it is important to keep your provider informed about your child’s progress by continuing the yearly well-child visit. This allows providers to pick up on potential problems before they become emergencies. Early screening means early detection and treatment.

Make the Most of Your Child’s Visit to the Doctor

To get the most out of your well-child visit, you should write a list of questions before the visit of things you may want to ask your provider during the visit. It is also encouraged to take notes. If you have lots of questions, it is best to ask the most important ones first, and parents should also encourage teens to ask their own questions about any health concerns or feelings they may be having. Having a list of questions handy may help keep you organized and ensure you get all the answers you’re looking for.

Lastly, be sure to bring in any information from your child’s school or daycare that may be helpful to your provider. Updating your healthcare team on any changes that happen between each visit is crucial.

Teamwork Can Improve Your Child’s Growth and Development

Think of well-child visits as an opportunity to learn as much as you can about the best ways to help your child grow and develop. You and your provider can work together to make sure your child is developing as expected.

Regular well-child visits create strong and trustworthy relationships between providers, parents, and children. This team-like approach helps develop optimal physical, mental, and social health for your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends well-child visits as a way for providers and parents to serve the needs of children, beyond just when they get sick.

Michael BruckDr. Michael L. Bruck is a proud member of the TopLine MD Alliance practicing Pediatrics in Palm Beach County.

The TopLine MD Alliance is an association of independent physicians and medical practice groups who are committed to providing a higher standard of healthcare services. The members of the TopLine MD Alliance have no legal or financial relationship with one another. The TopLine MD Alliance brand has no formal corporate, financial or legal ties to any of the affiliated physicians or practice groups.