As a parent, you no doubt realize that childhood is a time of rapid growth and change in your child’s development. Your number one priority during these formative years is your child’s health and well-being, and one way to support it is with regular well-child visits – especially when your child is an adolescent.
Here are some questions and answers many parents have about the purpose and importance of a well-child visit:
What is a well-child visit?
A well-child visit, also known as an annual health care visit, is a yearly medical examination for adolescents between the ages of 11 and 21. Its primary purpose is to enable your child’s pediatrician to monitor their physical growth and development.
What happens during a well-child visit?
During the visit, your child’s doctor reviews their growth since the last visit and talks with you about the many important areas of your child’s development, including their physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development.
An essential part of a well-child visit is a physical examination and screening tests. These may include:
- Measuring your child’s physical development
- Checking your child’s blood pressure level, vision, or hearing
- Listening to your child’s lungs and feeling the abdomen
- Laboratory screening tests for anemia, lead exposure, or tuberculosis
- Screening for depression or anxiety (if necessary) via paper form or online assessment
What are the benefits of well-child visits?
Aside from reviewing your child’s development, a well-child visit provides an opportunity to discuss prevention, which is important since the most common cause of harm in many children is a preventable injury or illness.
During the well-child visit, your child’s doctor will review critical strategies to protect your child from injury, such as car seat usage. The doctor will also review and update immunizations as a way to ensure your child is protected from infectious diseases. Also, if there is a family history of a specific illness, you and your child’s doctor can discuss ways to prevent it in your child. In addition, healthy behaviors involving sleep, nutrition, and physical activity can also be reviewed.
If your child is a teenager, a well-child visit is also an opportunity for your child to spend time alone with the pediatrician to ask and get answers about their health. The doctor can address more sensitive issues, such as sexual behavior, substance abuse, or mental health concerns in a more discreet, comfortable, and caring environment.
Why are well-child visits for adolescents important?
Annual well-care visits during adolescence are recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and Bright Futures because they not only promote healthy behaviors, but also prevent risky ones, and help detect any conditions that might interfere with your child’s physical, social, or emotional development.
Well Child Visit in Purchase, New York
At BridgeSpan Medicine in Purchase, New York, our dedicated team of adolescent medicine specialists offers the best care for teens and young adults in the 15-21 age range. Our physicians at BridgeSpan Medicine understand that medical care for adolescents is different than it is for children or adults, but it is just as important, which is why we offer well-child visits along with many other medical services.