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How Often Should My Child See a Pediatrician?

by | Mar 28, 2021 | Primary Care

Wellness Visits Determine Impending Health Problems

A few parents can be over-cautious with visiting the pediatrician, while others do not want to seem like worrywarts and put off visits to the doctors with their child until the very last minute. Oftentimes parents do not want to take the child to see the doctor unless they are certain the child is ill. Medical professionals recommend that parents take their child at least every year for a wellness check. Some insurance companies demand at least a yearly visit. Yearly wellness visits allow the doctor time to assess the child and pinpoint any possible impending physical, mental, or emotional problems. Wellness visits at least yearly help to keep the doctor abreast of any medical changes and vaccinates against childhood diseases.

What is a Wellness Visit?

Wellness visits allow the pediatrician to see how well the child’s growth is proceeding. The Doctor refers to a CDC growth chart for guidance. Kids are placed into majority groups of children across the United States that are of the same age. The child can be below these national averages, within the national averages, or their growth could be off the charts. Growth charts help the doctor see any possible abnormalities. If the doctor believes there are health concerns after an assessment the proper plan of action is put into place. For instance, if a child’s height at the age of three is off of the record, meaning they are taller than most kids at the age of three there is a likelihood that they are going to be taller as they proceeded to grow. There may or may not be health concerns, but at least the doctor now has a baseline height and weight. The doctor flags the apparent abnormality and monitors them during sick visits and a yearly exam.

As a baby grows their doctor can monitor every aspect of growth, including, speech, social interactions, fine motor skills, and gross motor skills. The doctor refers to another chart that helps assess how the child meets each milestone as time passes. While some children pick up their milestone’s others may not meet these milestones until another year. Again, there may or may not be room for concern. The doctor will alert the parent to monitor the child and perhaps report back before the next wellness visit. Parents are generally on cue to milestone changes and if they believe their child is not meeting certain criteria by a certain age, they usually take the child for a doctor visit regardless of if the child is ill or not. Delays in development sometimes mean that interventions must be put into place to help the child meet these changes.

The doctor follows the CDC guidelines as a standard regarding how often children need to visit the doctor. Recommendations for wellness visits are one, two, four, six, nine, 12, 15 18- months, two years, two and a half years, and three years. Visits then jump to annually until they reach 21-years. In between these times, the parent will schedule a visit if the child is ill or problems arise.

Every parent seems to have differing opinions about their child’s immunizations or vaccinations. Some parents refuse childhood vaccinations due to religious affiliations or other reasons. Some parents do not believe in some vaccinations given, such as polio, measles, mumps, smallpox, and more because it is rare for children to contract these diseases as was the case years ago. The reason why many of these diseases are rare in the 21st century is because of the vaccinations. Medical professionals now see a possible increase in childhood diseases because some parents are not vaccinating their children. There are state laws that mandate the child be vaccinated before starting school and it is difficult for the parents to sidestep these shots. If the vaccine is due but the child is ill the doctor will not proceed until they are well again.

It is essential that adults and children eat well-balanced meals every day. A well-visit allows the doctor to assess if the child is eating enough foods from all food categories. If the child’s weight is too much over the norm for their age, they may not be eating the right foods or getting sufficient exercise. Obese children can also be malnourished children. Malnourishment does not always mean children will look frail and skinny.

In between wellness visits children change every day. These visits allow their doctor to home in on possible problems in many areas such as the heart, the skin texture and color, ears, eyes, nose, mouth, nail texture and color, and more.

New parents and even seasoned parents have questions for the doctor in regard to their child’s health. The doctor is not with this child every day and cannot possibly see what the parent sees as abnormal unless the parent asks at the time of the visit. Doctor’s record everything about the child at each visit. This digitally recorded information allows the doctor to compare how the child was doing a year ago with how the child is doing a year later. Sometimes it is the doctor that identifies possible health problems, much to the surprise of the parent. Parents find it helpful to make a list of questions to ask the doctor. This is the time to ask the doctor’s advice regarding concerns the parent may have about the child’s, physical, mental, emotional, and social wellbeing.

If the child had a history of a chronic illness like a heart or kidney issue or respiratory issue like asthma, doctor visits are more regular. If the child must take medication for a chronic illness this is an excellent time to talk about medication, side effects, dosage increases as the child grows, and the request for medication refills.
Wellness visits help the doctor to cement a relationship with the child and parent and set individualized baseline information such as lab work. If there is no baseline lab work the doctor has nothing to compare it with if the child happens to become acutely ill.

In addition to the above checklist, the doctor does on a wellness visit, the doctor may feel some extra studies need to be done relative to the child’s health which is as follows.

Child's Wellness Visit

  • Blood pressure screening
  • Anemia screening
  • Lead screening as needed
  • Urinalysis
  • Vaccinations
  • Health education

Professional Pediatric Services

If you are new to Gainesville, Texas, are already a resident of Texas, but you need a pediatrician for your child we are a leader in the community. We are an award-winning level four trauma hospital and host many departments for the residents in Gainesville and surrounding areas. Access our website for more information. Give us a call at 940-665-1751 or stop by for a visit and check out our pediatric services and let us know how we can assist you and your family’s healthcare needs.

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