The importance of children’s wellness visits during the pandemic has become a crucial topic for pediatricians this past year. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has been intensely advocating the value of wellness visits to ensure children are maintaining optimal health and care.
Why do children need routine office visits?
Vaccines are of course important, as this pandemic has illuminated for everyone. It is estimated that up to 9 million children in the United States missed routine vaccinations during the pandemic; this is 26% fewer vaccinations than in 2019. However, your child’s routine health care visits encompass many other conversations as well, such as growth and development, safety, nutrition, mental health, preventive care, etc. Any issues identified during the visit related to screening, weight, vision, hearing, or delays can then be referred to the appropriate resource.
Topics that weren’t adequately addressed 10-20 years ago are now at the forefront of the wellness visit, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, depression, and sexual identity. Each of these areas, once identified by your pediatrician, may also need a referral to the appropriate specialist. Your pediatrician is the best resource to serve as your quarterback in this fast-paced game of life.
Life has become more complex, not just for parents, but for our children as well. Having a pediatrician who has known your child from birth through adolescence is yet another means of comfort as you go down that winding road of parenthood. As with everything in medicine, new advances and developments in research bring different recommendations between generations. The pendulum is constantly swinging and your pediatrician will always be there to guide you through these changes.
Every stage of your child’s growth and development is important and is a journey that you should be taking with your pediatrician to not only guide you, but to listen to your concerns and opinions.
Make an Appointment
Although the pandemic has created an alternate virtual world for everyone, there is no substitute for an in-person physical exam. Your child is not a 2-D image, but a live little person who still requires that one-on-one interaction with her/his pediatrician to adequately assess their health and wellbeing.
Your child’s wellness visits will start a few days after you leave the hospital and then continue at two-month intervals through 12 months. Visits will start spacing out after that to three-month intervals through 30 months. Starting at the age of 3 years old, wellness visits can be scheduled yearly.
Do not put off scheduling your child’s next wellness visit. Call your pediatrician today, ask about the preventative measures in place to ensure safety, and schedule your child’s yearly exam.
Dr. Robin Straus Furlong is a proud member of the TopLine MD Alliance practicing medicine in Miami-Dade County.