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Do Kids Really Need Regular Check-Ups?

Doctor using stethoscope on child during well-child visit
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For new parents, caring for a baby involves a flurry of activities – from choosing the safest car seat and powering through late-night feedings to keeping up with doctor visits. They also face many decisions about how to keep their little one healthy and safe. 

Pediatricians recommend that kids receive regular checkups frequently. That means parents should take their child to the pediatrician at least six times during the first 15 months, plus another two times by age two and once per year after that.

After all these doctor appointments, it can be easy to miss scheduling your child for an annual checkup – especially when life is hectic. Have you ever wondered, if your child has all their shots and seems healthy, if they really need to go to the doctor? 

The official answer from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), which offers guidelines for providing children’s healthcare through age 18, is yes! 

Regular checkups, also called well-child visits, allow kids to receive much-needed care and prevent serious medical issues, such as obesity and diabetes, as they grow into adults. In addition to providing immunizations, your child's pediatrician will track your child’s developmental milestones and perform screenings for vision, hearing, speech, oral health and other health concerns.

Unfortunately, research indicates children are not visiting the doctor often enough. In fact, California ranks 46th out of 50 states in the percentage of children up to age five who have received a checkup in the last year. 

“Many parents think their kids only need to see the doctor when they need shots or when they are sick,” said Dr. Anastasia Williams, Clinical Director of Pediatrics at San Fernando Community Health Center. “However, regular checkups enable a pediatrician to track how your child is growing and developing physically, mentally and emotionally. They also allow for early detection and management of potential medical issues, and provide education and support to parents.” 

 

nurse recording child's height during well-child visit

During a well-child visit, your family pediatrician typically will:

Remember, children who see a doctor regularly have better health outcomes and fewer hospitalizations. By building a trusting relationship with your pediatrician, you can work together to ensure your child grows into a healthier, happier adult!

 



Measles Outbreak: What Parents Need to Know

The measles is a highly contagious childhood disease that was eradicated by vaccination, but has made a comeback. The current outbreak in California and at least 10 other states is directly related to declining MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccination rates. During the pandemic, many children missed their well-child exams and didn’t keep up with their shots. The most important thing you can do to protect your family is to make sure you and your loved ones are up-to-date with the MMR vaccine. For more information, please click here

Author
Stacy Geere

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