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The Importance of Well-Child Visits

May. 17, 2021

Why taking Your Child to a Pediatrician is More Important Than Ever.

Well-Child Visits are Important

Chad Coe, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and a UC Health physician. Dr. Coe is helping to raise awareness of the importance of staying up to date on well-child visits with your pediatrician during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking Your Child to a Pediatrician, Even During COVID-19.

Yes. Well-child visits allow your pediatrician to check up on critical aspects of your child’s health and development and provide you, the parent/guardian, with valuable insights that contribute to your child’s overall well-being. These include, but are not limited to, your child’s physical, emotional and social wellness — all areas that can be affected by daily life during a global pandemic.

Well-child visits also provide your child with the necessary routine vaccinations they need to protect them from serious illnesses including chickenpox, whooping cough, hepatitis A and B, the flu, as well as checking in on your child’s physical and mental developmental milestones. As we come out of the COVID-19 pandemic and resume in-person instruction and interaction, updating your child’s vaccinations will be crucial in preventing other childhood illnesses.

Statistically, children have been less affected by COVID-19 as compared with adults. However, children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for severe illness compared to children without underlying medical conditions. If you feel your child may have symptoms or have been exposed to COVID-19, it is important to contact a board-certified pediatrician as soon as possible so that the doctor can evaluate your child and provide the best possible plan of care. COVID-19 testing is available locally for children of all ages.

What to Expect at Pediatric Newborn Visits

After your baby is born, his/her first well-child visit should occur within two to three days of discharge from the hospital. After that, well-child visits should occur every few weeks or months for the first year and a half of your child’s life. During these visits, your pediatrician will:

  • Track your child’s growth.
  • Check your child’s health through a head-to-toe physical exam.
  • Screen for hearing or vision difficulties.
  • Vaccinate your child to protect them from several serious illnesses.
  • Answer any questions or address any concerns parents may have.
  • Discuss important health topics such as diet, how to keep your child safe at home or in the car, how to support your child’s speech and learning, bedtime routines, etc.

What to Expect at Pediatric Visits for Kids and Teens

As your child gets older, visits become more spaced out and are geared specifically for your child’s age range. While these visits include checking up on many of the same health milestones that they did before, they will now provide you and your child with age-appropriate anticipatory guidance. Anticipatory guidance is a form of proactive counseling where your pediatrician will begin educating on topics that are likely to soon come up in your child’s life, and provide you with helpful tips and tools for tackling these issues. This includes social, emotional and health-related issues as children grow.

How to Get the Most Out of Well-Child Visits

Prior to your appointment with your pediatrician, try making a list of any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s health, development, behavior, etc. Communicating your questions or concerns helps your pediatrician give the best and most pertinent advice for your child’s specific needs. It is important to recognize the key role that you play in your child’s healthcare visits, as you know your child better than anyone. Make sure to be open about any challenges that may arise, and also share successes and milestones.

Is it safe to visit a doctor’s office for pediatric or adult care right now?

Yes. Following state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. UC Health has many safety protocols in place so that you never need to delay healthcare needs for yourself and your family. UC Health doctor’s offices, emergency departments and hospitals are all open, safe and prepared. UC Health has taken every precaution to ensure our patients and visitors (of all ages) are safe in all of our facilities.

Many patients are very comfortable seeing their physicians for in-person visits, and we have gone the extra mile to make sure our patients and visitors are safer than ever.

Primary care physicians, like Dr. Coe, are accepting new patients — and they offer in-person visits as well as virtual visit options.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Coe or any primary care physician at UC Health, call 513-475-8001.