Just like how a yearly physical is a key part of checking an adult’s health, well-child exams are essential to making sure children stay as healthy as possible. From vaccines to general health, these exams track your child as they grow, making sure they hit milestones and get the protection they need.
At Ross Bridge Medical Center Pediatrics in Hoover, Alabama, we offer well-child exams with the goal of keeping your offspring in the peak of health and safeguarding them against serious disease. We’re dedicated to providing high-quality, comprehensive, coordinated, and compassionate health care to all our young patients.
In this blog, Nicolette Marak, MD, discusses well-child exam basics, what happens during a well-child exam, and the recommended schedule for visits.
The basics of well-child exams
A well-child exam is similar to an adult physical in that it’s a way to monitor the growth and development of your child. During each visit, you talk with the doctor about your child’s milestones, social behaviors, and learning.
This includes any worries you might have, including issues with sleeping, eating, or getting along with other children or family members. The exams are also used to build trust between you, the doctor, and your child. Finally, your child gets their scheduled immunizations during their exam.
Components of well-child exams
A well-child exam begins with a review of your child’s medical records and any concerns or questions you may have. Dr. Marak then begins the physical exam, which includes:
- Blood pressure measurement
- Weight and height measurements
- Head circumference measurement
- Body mass index measurement
- Listening to the heart and lungs
- Hearing and vision tests
- Examining the eyes, ears, teeth, tongue, feet, and hands
- Checking the internal organs by feeling the abdomen
- Blood and urine tests to check organ function
For vaccines, we utilize the schedule created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatricians.
When well-child exams should occur
The timing of well-child exams often match the immunization schedule and other developmental milestones. For example, at the one-year exam, Dr. Marak may check if your child is able to take a few steps and say simple words, such as “da-da” or “ma-ma.” This is also when your child should get their MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) vaccine. The typical exam schedule should match the following:
- 3 to 5 days
- 1 month
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 12 months
- 15 months
- 18 months
- 2 years
- 2 ½ years
- 3 years
- Once a year until the child reaches age 21
This schedule is not absolute and shouldn’t stop you from scheduling a visit if your child is sick or if you have serious concerns about their development.