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Parents know they should take their child to the pediatrician when they are sick. But regular pediatrician visits are important for healthy children.
The Benefits of Well-Child Visits:
Prevention. Your child gets scheduled immunizations to prevent illness. You also can ask your pediatrician about nutrition and safety in the home and at school.
Tracking growth and development. See how much your child has grown in the time since your last visit, and talk with your doctor about your child's development. You can discuss your child's milestones, social behaviors and learning.
Raising concerns. Make a list of topics you want to talk about with your child's pediatrician such as development, behavior, sleep, eating or getting along with other family members. Bring your top three to five questions or concerns with you to talk with your pediatrician at the start of the visit.
Team approach. Regular visits create strong, trustworthy relationships among pediatrician, parent and child. The AAP recommends well-child visits as a way for pediatricians and parents to serve the needs of children. This team approach helps develop optimal physical, mental and social health of a child.
Back-to-school check-ups, as they are commonly called, are often the only visit most kids and teenagers have with their pediatrician every year. The annual physical gives the pediatrician a chance to give the child a thorough physical exam and address any emotional, developmental, or social concerns. It is also a good chance to address important questions, especially with teenagers, including adolescent issues of drinking, smoking, drugs, sexual activity, and depression.
Children involved in school athletic programs often receive a sports-specific exam through the school. The timeframe for getting this exam should be at least 6 weeks prior to the start of the sport's season. This allows ample time to work up any new health concerns or rehab any lingering injuries before the season starts, without delaying clearance of the athlete. However, school sports physicals alone tend not to address the child's overall health.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the CDC, infants and children need vaccines to protect them from harmful diseases. These diseases can have serious complications, especially for very young children, and even cause death.
Your doctor can guide you in determining what vaccines your baby needs and when she needs them. You can also see the Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth through 6 Years Old provided by the CDC.
Health matters to teens
Healthcare may not be on most teens' radar, but other aspects of health are probably a major part of their lives.
For example, both boys and girls may worry more about how they look when they're in their teens than they did when they were younger. Being healthy has a big influence on how kids feel in their bodies. Kids who feel good also are more likely to do well in school and sports.
Health concerns in teenagers
There are a number of things teens might want to talk about with their doctor.
For many teens, sexual questions might top the list. And the teen years are a good time for kids to learn about how to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Safety issues will probably be one of the first things a doctor will want to discuss. Traffic accidents are the No. 1 cause of death for this age group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Other dangers facing teens include accidental injury, suicide and homicide.
The teen years also are a good time to create healthy habits. The habits made in our youth often follow us into adulthood, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. These habits can influence our risk for developing heart, lung or other health problems.
Building a relationship with a doctor now can serve your teen well into his or her later life.
Looking for a pediatrician in Conway?
The staff and providers at Baptist Health Pediatric Clinic-Conway are committed to providing quality pediatric care in a friendly and caring environment. Schedule your well-child check up today by calling (501) 358-6892