The Well-Child Exam: What Parents Should Know

Doctor examining child wellchild exam

By India Ogazi, Communications Specialist

As the new school year begins, back-to-school clothes and supplies are high priority for most parents. Make sure to put your child’s annual well-child exam on your to-do list, too.

Your child shouldn’t only see the doctor when they’re sick.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children have a well-child exam, also known as a checkup, each year. But why? And what should you expect?

Legacy Community Health pediatrician Dr. Natali Muehe explains.

Why is getting a well-child exam important?

A well-child exam is important because it’s when the doctor and parents get to discuss the development and growth of a child. If there any concerns, we can start the process of getting the child the resources they need. It also gives doctors the chance to guide parents in the direction that will keep their child from any serious illness or issues.

Prevention is the key to a healthy child.

What is done during a well-child exam?

During a well-child exam, vision and hearing are always checked in children age three and older. Sometimes children don’t recognize that they have hearing or vision loss. A well-child exam can determine if they need glasses or further hearing testing.

We also check vitals, which include height, weight, blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory rate, to make sure everything is normal. Plus, we discuss diet, exercise, school, development and anything that is relevant to the growth and well-being of the child.

What’s the purpose of a sports physical?

If the child is going to play sports, sports physicals are extremely important because we make sure he or she does not have any health issues that could put them in danger. During sports physicals, we focus more on the cardiovascular health of the child. We closely examine the bones and joints to help ensure that a child does not have any issues that could increase their chance of injury.

When can children stop getting a well-child exam and sports physical?

It is recommended children get a well-child exam every year until age 18. Sports physicals should be done every year that a child is playing sports.

Contact us today to schedule your child’s sports physical and well-child exam.