Why Well-Child Visits Are So Important


When your child is sick, you know to take him or her to the pediatrician. But here at Westchester Health Pediatrics, we want to make sure parents know that it’s just as important to take your child to the doctor when he/she is well, too.

After age two or three, your child should have an annual well-child visit or health supervision checkup. These visits are very important in tracking your child’s growth and development.

Mason Gomberg, MD

Primarily, the well-child visit is a chance to review his or her physical, cognitive, emotional and social development. It is also a time to review and institute ways to prevent injury and illnesses. Also, keep in mind that these visits will change as your child ages toward adolescence.

Some parents schedule the well-child visit to correspond with their child’s birthday; others will schedule them before school, camp or college.

Ideally, you want to make an appointment a few weeks prior to a “complete by this date” form in order to rectify any issues that arise from the annual physical. Also, if there are any topics or issues you wish to discuss with your child’s pediatrician, make a list of your most pressing questions and indicate these issues prior to or at the beginning of your visit.

Healthy behaviors, such as diet, sleep, social skills and physical activity are important discussions to instill at a young age.

Prevention of injury and illness, such as reviewing car seat and seat belt usage, safe firearm storage, fire prevention and safety, screen time, and current and up-to-date immunizations will help facilitate this practice. Usually, the earlier any school or social issues are addressed, the better the outcome.

During the teenage years, part of the exam should be done in private between the teenager and physician.

This will allow your child’s doctor to ask and get important answers in a safe, private environment. It provides the opportunity to address such issues as substance abuse, mental health concerns, sexual behaviors and puberty concerns. Also, it starts to show your adolescent how to take steps towards independence and responsibility for his/her own health behaviors in preparation for college and beyond.

Your doctor will do a complete physical examination and check your child’s blood pressure, vision and hearing, as well as screen for a variety of health-related issues.

These may include testing for anemia, lead exposure, tuberculosis, cholesterol and depression. Should you have any concerns about a rash, skin mark, height or weight, or any physical attribute, alert your child’s doctor prior to the examination so he/she can zone in on your concern.

If you are going to a new doctor, bring your child’s most recent and complete immunization records and health reports, any school reports that you are concerned about, your list of questions and any school or sports forms that need to be filled out. A little preparation will be beneficial to you, your child and your pediatrician.

Bright Futures, a national health promotion and prevention initiative

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has developed national age-appropriate health guidelines for preventive care screenings and well-child visits, called Bright Futures. To learn more about these guidelines, click here.

To schedule your well-child visit, or to learn more about why your child needs one, give us a call

If it’s time for your child’s annual well-child visit, or if you have questions about any aspect of your child’s health, please make an appointment with Westchester Health Pediatrics to see one of our pediatricians. We’ll examine your child, perform age-appropriate tests and screenings, administer needed vaccinations, offer advice and guidance, and answer any questions you or your child might have. Always, our #1 goal is for your child to grow up healthy and happy. Whenever, wherever you need us, we’re here for you.

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By Mason Gomberg, MD, pediatrician with Westchester Health Pediatrics, member of Northwell Health Physician Partners

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About the Author: ML Ball