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Understanding the Importance of Annual Well-child Checkups

Understanding the Importance of Annual Well-child Checkups

Talk to any pediatrician or family medicine provider and they may ask whether your child has had their well-child checkup.

So, what is this checkup and why is it important?

A well-child visit involves a physical exam of your child and a discussion of your child’s medical history.

During the physical exam, the healthcare team may:

  • Take your child’s weight, height, blood pressure and heart rate
  • Test your child’s vision and hearing
  • Listen to their heart and lungs
  • Check their ears, nose, throat and abdomen

When reviewing their medical history, the healthcare team may ask about:

  • Current or past illnesses/medical conditions
  • Previous surgeries or hospitalizations
  • Family history of serious illnesses
  • Allergies
  • Current medicines they take

Your child’s provider may also ask if you have any concerns related to their health.

Why an annual well-child exam is recommended

After gathering the information described above, a provider will:

  • Review growth charts to see how your child compares to other boys or girls their age in terms of height and weight
  • Discuss developmental milestones or possible developmental delays
  • Make sure your child is up-to-date on their immunizations (vaccinations)
  • Talk about any safety concerns and offer safety tips, like using a car seat or wearing a helmet when doing certain activities

An annual well-child exam helps you stay on top of your child’s health. By having this visit every year, your child’s doctor will track their growth and development over time to make sure there are no concerns that need to be addressed.

Don’t forget a sports physical

If your child is a student athlete, they may also need a sports physical each year. Make sure to ask your child’s provider if they offer sports physicals and if they can do the physical at the same time as your child’s well-child exam.

Undergoing an annual sports physical before training starts can help prevent injuries and lead to quicker treatment if a provider detects a medical condition or injury.

It is especially important to screen for any lung-related problems, like asthma, and any heart abnormalities, like arrhythmias, valve problems or enlarged heart. Heart abnormalities can put athletes at risk for sudden death.

A provider can also offer training tips to help your child avoid injuries, like strengthening or stretching activities.

In addition to what’s provided during the well-child exam, a sports physical may include:

  • A review of past injuries, such as concussions/head injuries, sprains or broken bon-es
  • A discussion about whether your child has ever had chest pains, trouble breathing, felt dizzy or passed out while exercising
  • A check of your child’s flexibility, posture, strength and range of motion

Based on the findings of your child’s medical history and physical exam, doctors may suggest additional tests.

If you are in need of a pediatrician, Moore Pediatrics is here to help. Call us at 405-912-3100 to schedule your child's appointment.

Care when you need it

If you need medical advice for minor illnesses or injuries, Norman Regional Virtual Care may be able to help. We will connect you with a provider anytime of the day or night from the comfort of your home or office. It’s quick, convenient and only costs $64 for each visit. Learn more about Norman Regional’s other telemedicine offerings.