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The Hood Magazine

Sanford Health is Sharing  Why Well Child Visits are Important for Children of All Ages

Aug 06, 2020 10:25PM ● By Sanford Health

By:  Sanford Health

A regular check-up for a child under the age of 18 is often referred to as a “well child visit.” These visits help ensure that infants, children and teens are getting the proper care they need to stay healthy. They give the doctor, parents and child an opportunity to talk about nutrition, safety, immunizations and many important age-appropriate topics. 

What do annual well child visits for kids older than age 3 involve? 

As your child grows, his or her body is going through a lot. It is important for us to monitor these changes closely so we can know if the development is happening at a normal rate. If your child seems to be falling behind in certain areas, the earlier we know, the earlier we can help get him or her back on track. 

From an educational standpoint, we make sure children have hit all of their milestones for preschool and kindergarten. This ensures that they’re on track to properly progress and have positive experiences that will set them up for better success later on in life. 

What does a well child visit do for a tween or teen? 

Growth patterns tend to change as children enter the pre-pubescent/adolescent stage of life. Kids begin to experience changes in hormones, develop acne, and the girls start their menstrual cycles. Well child checks continue to be beneficial in providing education to middle schoolers and high schoolers — as well as their parents — on these changes and any challenges that may be present. 

For parents or students with concerns about grades or classwork, these checks also provide an opportunity to intervene early on from an intellectual and educational standpoint and further address any potential behavioral or academic issues. 

We will discuss any hearing or vision concerns and remind kids about healthy sleep patterns, eating habits and food choices. 

How is a well child visit different from an athletic physical? 

In the sports medicine field, the sports physical exam is known as a pre-participation physical examination (PPE). The exam helps determine whether it’s safe for a child to participate in a particular sport. Most states require that kids and teens have a sports physical before they can start a new sport or begin a new competitive season. 

A well child exam is much more comprehensive and includes reviewing immunization records, past history and family history. The provider also discusses behaviors, school issues and proper nutrition with the child. 

“Many parents don’t know that a well child exam will qualify as a sports physical,” said Dr. Michelle Johnson, a family medicine physician for Sanford Health. “Just bring the required paperwork from your school, and we willcomplete it for you.”