If it’s time to get ready for another school year, it’s also time for your child’s annual check-up with your family physician. One way to improve overall health and well-being, is through regular well-checks. This is especially true for children.
While many kids may be required to get an annual physical for athletic programs or extracurricular activities, this is a habit parents should help form for every child. Yearly check-ups are essential for tracking growth and development and for identifying potential health problems before they start or become severe. They also allow parents an opportunity to ask questions or raise any concerns with a medical expert. Annual visits are also an ideal time to stay up-to-date on essential vaccinations (more on those next week).
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the following well-check schedule for all children.
For newborns through the toddler years:
•2 to 5 days old
•1 month old
•2 months old
•4 months old
•6 months old
•9 months old
•12 months old
•15 months old
•18 months old
•2 years old (24 months)
•2 ½ years old (30 months)
Once children hit the age of three, they should visit their doctor every year until the age of 21.
All children who participate in athletics should get Pre-participation Physical Exams (PPE), often referred to as a sports physical. Just as a well-check allows healthcare professionals to catch health conditions early, a pre-sports physical allows them to make sure there aren’t any underlying medical conditions that could be dangerous or physically limiting for the child, like asthma, heart murmurs or bone and joint problems.