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question

What happens at a well-child visit or checkup?

RealAge
RealAge
answer

Checkups can involve some or all of these items, depending on the child’s age:

  • Vaccinations, if needed
  • Head-to-toe exam, such as checking eyes and vision, ears and hearing, nose, mouth, reflexes, muscle tone and strength, and sometimes urine and blood
  • Measurements and growth chart check
  • Body mass index (BMI) check

The physical exam is how I make sure all your child’s body systems are growing and working properly. The rest of the time I spend asking plenty of questions and listening for details that may indicate a health issue about:

  • Nutrition and eating habits, such as appetite, dieting, obesity and eating disorders
  • Exercise, including quantity and type, leisure activities and sports
  • Hygiene, including sleep habits, dental care, hand-washing, any itchiness or other irregular symptoms
  • Intellectual development, depending on age of the child, including emerging social and developmental skills and school performance
  • Emotional health and self esteem, including behavioral concerns, family dynamic, sibling rivalry
  • Safety at home, school, and traveling, including child seats, seatbelts, sunscreen, helmets

From Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children by Jennifer Trachtenberg.

Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

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Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children

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Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Stacy Wiegman, PharmD
Pharmacy Specialist
answer

At a well-child visit to the doctor, your child's pediatrician or family doctor will examine your child from head to toe to make sure that he's healthy, that he's growing properly and that he's developing normally. Your child's doctor (or a nurse) will measure your child’s height (or length, if he’s not yet standing), weight and head circumference and compare it to a growth chart. He'll also do other routine procedures, such as take your child's temperature, examine his eyes, ears and mouth, listen to his heart and check his genitals. If your child is due for a vaccination, he'll likely get it at a well-child visit.

The doctor will ask you questions about your child to make sure that he's reaching developmental milestones on target, getting enough sleep, eating healthfully and behaving in age-appropriate ways. It's the perfect time for you to ask any questions that you might have as well, so take advantage of having your child's doctor's undivided attention.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.