Like adults, children should get annual medical checkups by specialized practitioners. These professionals can screen them for medical problems or refer kids for more detailed evaluations if needed. Not every child will need several doctors each year. However, a doctor should perform regular checkups on several aspects of their development as they grow.
An overall general exam, sometimes called a well child visit, enables the doctor to obtain parental information about the child's health and any observed symptoms. The doctor then conducts a physical exam, including weight and height, to determine if the child is progressing normally. During the exam, the doctor will possibly check the child's blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm, lung sounds, and limbs. They may also examine the ears and throat. If symptoms suggest a medical problem, the doctor can recommend further testing or prescribe treatment for the condition.
Before starting school, parents should arrange for their children's dental health to be assessed by pediatric dental care services. Although the baby teeth are still in place, a dental exam can provide information about the child's jaw structure, teeth placement, and oral health. The dentist will also offer kids instruction and kits for practicing daily oral hygiene, such as brushing and flossing their teeth. They will also be advised about dietary suggestions and foods or beverages to avoid.
By the time a child enters kindergarten, their preschool teacher might conduct a vision test, if you enrolled the child in this type of program. Beginning in kindergarten in public school and many private schools, teachers and medical professionals will administer a standard vision test to identify possible seeing problems. They will then refer the test to an ophthalmologist for follow-up if needed. If schools do not provide vision screenings, parents should take their child for a vision test every year or two or if symptoms suggest a vision problem.
Many pediatric experts suggest a hearing test for children in elementary school. This is especially the case when a child seems to have trouble hearing things in the classroom. Parents, too, may notice at home that one of their kids may be having hearing problems. Speech problems are sometimes linked to hearing issues but might also present as a separate concern.
Getting early health checkups and quality medical care can give your child a great start in life. Make sure your kids get the recommended checkups and evaluations to protect their health.