Most people only think about going to the doctor when they are sick or injured. Going to the doctor when they are healthy is just not something they consider to be necessary or important. However, when you are a parent, you want to be sure that you are doing everything in your power to help your child grow and thrive.
Get to know some of the important facts about well-child exams as well as why these exams are so necessary. Then, you can be certain you are doing what is best for your child's well-being.
What Is a Well-Child Exam?
A well-child exam is also often called a check-up, and it is an exam performed on your child when they are in good health. These exams occur periodically throughout your son or daughter's childhood to keep track of various aspects of their health and well-being.
When children are under the age of three, they need several well-child exams per year. However, between the ages of 3 and 21, an annual trip to the doctor for a well-child check will be sufficient. A well-child exam, therefore, is comparable to an annual physical exam for adults.
Why Are Well-Child Exams So Important?
There are many reasons that well-child exams are so important to your child's health and well-being. Some of these reasons include:
Height and Weight Checks
Firstly, having well-child exams keep track of your child's height and weight as they grow. Knowing your child's height and weight can help to determine a great deal about your child's health.
Height and weight measurements can determine whether your child is overweight or obese which can help you to change their lifestyle to improve health. But more than likely, your child is not in need of obesity treatment. For most children, height and weight checks are tests of whether or not they are thriving.
Thriving means that your child is within normal ranges of height and weight and is growing at a rate that is considered healthy for a child their age. Children who fail to thrive are underweight and/or significantly shorter than other children their age. This can be a sign of numerous genetic and other health conditions that you need to treat as soon as possible.
Your child's height and weight are not the only major aspects of their growth that need to be measured. Children are expected to meet certain milestones as they grow through infancy, toddlerhood, and childhood.
For example, by the age of 9 months, a child should be able to get into a sitting position on their own, crawl, and even stand holding onto an object or person. If your child falls behind on such milestones, they may need assistance like physical therapy, occupational therapy, or might need to be tested for certain health conditions.
At the age of five, though, your child should be able to count 10 objects, speak in clear and complete sentences, and stand on one foot for at least 10 seconds. Your child's doctor will ask them to perform such tasks when they are in the office along with the rest of the physical exam to test their milestone achievements.
For some children, the milestones that they have trouble meeting are verbal or communication issues. In such cases, speech therapy may be recommended to get them on track. It can sometimes be difficult for parents to notice these issues with their own child, but a doctor can provide an unbiased perspective and can help to get your child caught up and on track to meet the rest of their important milestones.
Knowing all of these facts about well-child exams and how important they can be for the well-being of your child, you can be sure that you keep up with their appointments and get them the medical care that they need to grow into a happy, healthy adult