Regular well-child exams are an important part of keeping kids healthy and
up to date on immunizations against
many serious childhood diseases.
Checkups also are a chance for
you and the doctor to talk about developmental and safety issues, and for you to get
answers to any questions about your child's overall health.
What to Expect at the Doctor's Office
At a typical well-child visit, your child will be weighed and measured and these
results will be plotted on growth
charts for weight, height, and body
mass index (BMI). Using these charts, doctors can see how kids are growing compared
with other kids the same age and gender. The doctor will take a family and medical
history and do a physical exam.
Your child should also get the flu
vaccine every year, ideally before flu season begins. Other vaccines might be
needed if the doctor determines that your child is at risk for conditions like meningococcal
or pneumococcal disease.
The doctor will check your child's developmental progress, asking about behavior
and specific developmental milestones. Doctors also give a screening test to help
identify developmental delays and autism
at the 24- or 30-month visit.
Developmental milestones for 3-year-olds include being able to:
dress and undress with a little help
knows first and last name and age
can count three objects
can copy a circle
Child safety is another topic discussed at well-child visits. The doctor will talk
about the importance of using car seats,
closely watching kids around swimming
pools, preventing poisoning, not smoking around kids,
and using sunscreen. In homes with
guns, weapons and ammunition should
be stored separately and kept locked at all times.
When Should I Call the Doctor?
Some symptoms can be signs of an infection, chronic medical condition, or other
medical problem. Call your doctor if your child has any of these: