When your child was an infant and toddler, you probably made frequent trips to the pediatrician’s office for well-child checkups. But although well-child checkups become less frequent as your child grows up, they are still important to your child’s health and well-being.
Here are four reasons why well-child checkups are important — even for older children:
During each well-child checkup, your child’s healthcare provider will conduct age-appropriate screenings and exams that can help to identify physical or mental health issues. If your doctor suspects that your child has — or is at risk of developing — a physical or mental health condition, getting early treatment can help him or her in the short term and prevent problems later in life.
Many parents assume that their children are done with vaccines by the time they are preschoolers, but the truth is that preteens and teenagers also need vaccines to help them stay healthy. Children should get an annual flu shot and will need several other vaccines during their preteen and teenage years. An annual well-child checkup will ensure that your child’s vaccines stay up-to-date.
Every parent knows how quickly children grow and change — especially during the preteen and teenage years. Having regular well-child checkups allows your child’s healthcare provider to monitor your child’s growth and development and keep an eye out for physical, emotional, or developmental problems. Your child’s healthcare provider also can answer questions and provide information about a variety of health topics, including nutrition and exercise, managing stress, sexual health, and substance abuse.
In a few short years, your child will be responsible for taking care of his or her own health. By taking your preteen or teenager to his or her annual well-child checkup, you are setting a good example and helping your child learn to manage his or her health as an adult. When you, your child, and your child’s healthcare provider feel ready, your child can begin to meet with his or her healthcare provider alone — even for just a few minutes — to discuss concerns and ask questions.
Although it may be tempting to skip well-child checkups for older kids, these exams play a critical role in your child’s ongoing health. Well-child visits can be scheduled with your family healthcare provider or your child's pediatrician.