Beginning at 2 years old, 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. Booster doses of DTaP, IPV, and MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) are usually given between your child’s 4th birthday and school entry. A tuberculin skin test (PPD) may be done to check for exposure to tuberculosis. The doctor will also ask about your child’s eating habits, as well as talk about discipline.
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.
Developmental milestones for 4-year-olds include being able to:
- help with household tasks
- play cooperatively with other children
- understand the concept of gender
- identify colors
- hop or jump
Developmental milestones for 5-year-olds include being able to:
- dress and undress independently
- recall address, phone number and parents’ names
- draw a person with at least 6 body parts
- print first name
Child safety is another topic doctors discuss at well-child visits. Your child’s doctor will reinforce the importance of using age-appropriate car seats, closely supervising children around swimming pools, preventing poisoning, not smoking around children, using sunscreen, and protecting children against exposed wires, outlets, and heat sources. In homes with firearms, guns and ammunition should be stored separately and kept locked at all times
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.