5 Reasons Your Child Needs Yearly Checkups
● By Sandy Kauten
As both a pediatrician, who has practiced in this community for more than 25 years, and as a mom, I can tell you that annual well-checks are critically important to our kids’ health for many reasons, including:
1) Prevention: Annual checkups help ensure that your child is up-to-date on his or her immunizations. Older children, especially, may need boosters of important vaccines to protect against illnesses including whooping cough and meningitis.
2) Screening for important health concerns: High blood pressure, hearing or vision problems, heart disease and a multitude of other potentially serious medical issues can be detected and treated by seeing your child’s doctor each year.
3) Diagnosing depression, anxiety and substance abuse: Most pediatricians routinely screen for high-risk mental health and substance abuse issues in tweens and teens. If you have a child who is 12 years or older, allow them to speak one-on-one with their provider, so that they have an opportunity to ask questions they might not want to discuss with a parent present. Giving your child the independence to speak confidentially to their physician is challenging, so it will likely feel odd the first time you step out of the room. But know that this is an important milestone for your child, and it empowers them to be an advocate for their health as they grow into adulthood.
4) Relationship building: Your child and his or her doctor need to create a relationship over time, so that, in case of an emergency or a serious medical or behavioral concern, they have a foundation of trust with their health care provider.
5) Community resources: Parenting a child takes a village, and your pediatric team can connect you to a variety of valuable parenting resources within the community.
Now is also a good time to call your pediatrician if your child will require an exam to play fall sports. Be sure to ask for a copy of your child’s most recent immunization record, so that you can provide it to your child’s school, because the new school year will be here before you know it!