Children need regular checkups and well-child examinations as they grow up. In every doctor visit, parents can have a chance to talk to their kids’ pediatrician to get answers for any questions they may have regarding pediatric overall health. You can also discuss any health or developmental issues that you may have concerning your little ones. Your kids can also take the opportunity to ask their doctors if they have any personal questions regarding their own body.
In each checkup, your children may be required to take health tests and examinations to check their growth and development. This is also a way for doctors to determine if there’s anything to be concerned about. Although rarely, a kid may appear healthy yet after a routine checkup, tests may show a hidden medical problem.
During your well-child checkup, the doctor will conduct a physical examination, along with conversational questions that concern your child’s health and wellness. Questions about their daily diet, sleep habits, and physical activities are to be expected. Then, your children will need to undergo some tests and examinations that’ll help the pediatrician determine any medical issue and also see how they’re developing and growing.
These tests and examinations may include the following:
1. Head To Toe Physical Examination
Physical examinations are usually the first contact between a patient and a nurse or a doctor in medical practice during checkups. These usually involve a systematic approach that begins at the child’s head and then proceeds to the entire body and ends at the toes. Of course, the approach differs regarding certain criteria such as the patients’ age and developmental level.
For infants and babies, the exam should go relatively easy because they’re more attentive to human faces and their environment. Using a stethoscope, the practitioner will need to listen to the baby’s heart, lungs, and other organs. The exam should be quick unless the baby starts crying, and you might need to distract or entertain them using a toy or anything that they find interesting.
Physical exam for toddlers and preschoolers is generally the same though they tend to be more cooperative if their parents are by their sides. School-age children are curious about different parts of their bodies and may ask questions they’ve been wondering about. Let them communicate with the doctor to make them more comfortable during wellness visits.
2. Developmental Screening
A developmental screening helps the doctor identify any early signs of delays in communication, motor, social-emotional, and cognitive abilities in your child. These types of delays may affect your child’s learning, development, and growth. In the social-emotional screening, the patient will be checked for the ability to explore their environment and learn from it, express and control their emotions, and form close or intimate relationships with people around them.
The doctor will also be checking the kid’s milestones in development such as taking their first step, as well as their speech and language skills. As parents, it’s normal to be worried whenever there seems to be a delay in these milestones in your child’s development. This is the chance to ask your question and find out if there’s any problem with your kid.
3. Vision And Hearing Screening
Screening your child’s vision and hearing is an effective way to determine any visual or hearing impairment that may affect development. This is also the part where the pediatrician decides if there’s a need for you to visit a pediatric ophthalmologist (an eye specialist) or an ENT (ears, nose, and throat) specialist.
With babies, the examiner will assess if they’re able to follow a moving object. The red reflex will also be analyzed using either a retinoscope or an ophthalmoscope to see any indication of dulling or lazy eye. Hearing screenings, on the other hand, are fairly simple and consist of a series of tones or beeps limited at a normal range to check if the patient is able to hear them.
A urinalysis may be ordered if the doctor wants to fully rule out any urinary tract infection (UTI) in your child. The test will also help in making sure the kidneys are functioning properly, as well as the other organs of your child. To perform the urinalysis, you’ll be given a clean container that you’ll use to collect the urine. The result will then be analyzed by either the laboratory technologist or your pediatrician.
5. Anemia Screening
Anemia is a medical condition that’s common in children. It occurs when a child doesn’t have enough hemoglobin or red blood cells in the body. Hemoglobin is the protein molecule in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. If the anemia screening reveals a lower-than-normal hemoglobin level, it means that the red blood cell count of the body is also low.
To perform anemia screening in kids, a blood sample will be drawn by inserting a needle into a vein, usually in the patient’s hand or arm. The blood will then be drawn up into a test tube or a syringe. In some cases, a blood sample may also be taken using a needle prick. Children are usually terrified of needles and having their blood taken. Try your best to appease them to make the blood sampling faster and more effective.
Children are recommended to undergo anemia screening between the ages of nine months and five years old. Diagnosing the condition at an early stage is key in preventing many other problems that may occur such as irregular heartbeat or enlargement of the heart.
Ensuring your child’s proper growth and development is crucial. As a parent, your responsibility involves a great deal of ensuring health and wellness as your kids grow. Taking them to their doctor significantly contributes to determining that you have nothing to worry about and that they’re growing and developing in accordance to their age and body weight.
Take them to their wellness checkups regularly. Do the tests as required and recommended by the pediatrician to rule out any possibility of medical conditions or developmental delays. On the flip side, if there’s anything wrong with them, you’re able to catch it early, increasing the chances of treating them before any serious complications arise.