Busy parents sometimes neglect to follow through with all well-child checkups. Parents can easily become convinced that the appointment is unnecessary when a child seems happy and healthy. However, all parents should avoid skipping checkups because every appointment is crucial. Here are just five important things you do at checkups that make them important.
1. Track Growth Rate
Not every child grows at the exact same rate, but doctors judge growth rates on an average scale. The first evidence of a problem is often when a child is not within the correct range for their age or following an expected pattern. One of the most important measurements is head circumference. Doctors track this number to make certain the brain is developing normally.
If a child is consistently falling outside of the range of what is expected, the doctor will schedule an additional screening or work with the parents to make changes. For example, the parents of obese or underweight children may need nutritional counseling so they can feed their child a healthier diet.
2. Address Delays in Walking or Speech
Parents that are with a child consistently may fail to realize when the child's development seems delayed. This is especially true of young children that do not spend a lot of time with other children the same age. Other parents worry too much and compare their child to others too frequently.
A professional assessment lets the parent know when to stop worrying or when assistance is needed. Speech delays may be due to hearing problems or the child may need speech therapy. Addressing the specific problem early prevents any learning delays.
Screenings also rule out health concerns or vision problems that cause delays in fine motor skills. Physical therapy enables toddlers and children to improve their physical abilities so they can catch up to other children their age.
3. Correctly Diagnose Health Issues
Sometimes a child's illness is easily identifiable, but often a doctor's examination is needed to correctly diagnose an ailment.
For instance, a doctor might notice that a child prone to catching colds may have asthma. Chronic cradle cap or diaper rash could be eczema. Parents and teachers sometimes mistake conditions like autism, OCD, and ADHD as behavioral problems. The life and health of the child improve when a correct diagnosis gets them the treatment or therapy they need.
4. Improve Doctor-Patient Relationship
To determine the extent of an illness in a child, doctors need to know how the child behaves and looks when they are well. A complete medical history also helps with the diagnosis because it may show a pattern of related problems. Information of this type makes it easier sometimes to pinpoint what is causing the complaint.
Children that only go to the doctor when they are sick may associate the visits with pain or illness and develop a phobia of visiting their doctor. Well-child visits provide a better sense of balance and reduce their fear. Adults also need annual checkups, and childhood is a great opportunity to help them to develop this type of healthy habit.
5. Have Questions Answered
Every child is different, and every age range offers parents some new challenges. Doctors are a convenient and confidential source of information regarding behavior, diet and exercise and much more. Parents can feel comfortable discussing their personal matters with someone they trust and be confident that this is an educated and knowledgeable source.
The reasons listed above are just a few of the many ways well-child visits benefit children and their parents. Start at birth to give your child every advantage possible for a healthy life. At Valley Pediatric Clinic we are here to provide the loving and experienced medical care all children need. Contact us to learn more.