We and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend yearly well-child examinations.  Regular well-child examinations by your child’s doctor are essential to keep your child healthy and up-to-date with immunizations against many dangerous childhood diseases. A checkup also gives your child’s doctor an opportunity to talk to you about developmental and safety issues and gives you an opportunity to ask any questions you might have about your child’s overall health.

At a typical well-child visit, your child will be weighed and height checked to make sure she’s progressing along a normal pattern of growth. For new patients, the doctor will take a family and medical history and perform a complete physical examination. For existing patients, we will update any history and complete a physical examination.  If indicated, at this age your child may be screened for anemia, lead poisoning, tuberculosis, high cholesterol, or other specific conditions. Your child’s doctor will check your child’s immunization record to see if any vaccinations are needed.  If your child has not already gotten a Meningitis vaccine or Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis vaccine, he will need one. The HPV vaccine is also recommended to prevent Human Papilloma Virus transmission.

Your child’s doctor will also check developmental progress. He or she will ask a number of questions to see if your child’s everyday behavior is age appropriate.

Teens may be asked about behaviors or emotional problems that may indicate depression or the risk of suicide.  The doctor may also provide counseling about risky behaviors and other issues, including:

  • emotional, physical and sexual abuse
  • use of alcohol and other substances, including anabolic steroids
  • use of tobacco products, marijuana
  • sexual activities that may result in pregnancy or STD’s
  • use of safety devices such as seat belts, protective sports gear
  • learning problems or difficulties in school

Please limit snacks, fast food and other high fat foods.  Encourage drinking water instead of soft drinks and sports drinks.  Parents should be ethical role models.  Be careful about cursing, drinking too much.  Your child watches everything you do at this age.  Eat dinner as a family, without the TV.  Show affection to your child on a daily basis.  Your child needs 10-12 hours of sleep.

More homework will be given over the next few years.  Encourage independent homework completion.  Be willing to review problems.  During summers continue to challenge their minds with reading. Encourage the use of study guides for ACT, SAT preparations for college.

Acne may begin around this age.  It is caused by the plugging and over activity of the oil glands caused by increased levels of hormones during adolescence.  At least 90% of all teenagers develop some degree of acne.  This visit is an opportunity to discuss this issue.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all children visit the dentist around every 6 months.  It is important to brush their teeth at least twice a day and use a Fluoride supplement if your water supply is Fluoride deficient.