What is a well-child visit?
A well-child visit is a time for your child's doctor to look at your child when they're healthy. It is different than a sick-child visit, a visit for vaccines (shots), or a follow-up appointment for an illness that is getting better. Well-child visits help build a relationship between your child and your child's doctor and this helps the doctor make better choices with problems your child may have in the future.
Who needs well child visits?
The American Association of Pediatricians (AAP) has a guide for parents to follow for well-child visits (For the actual guide, click here). While your doctor may have a different chart, most schedules agree on when your child needs to see their doctor: when they're born, after 3-5 days, at 1 month old, at 2 months old, at 4 months old, at 6 months old, then at 9-, 12-, 15-, 18-, 24-, and 30-months old, and then once a year from ages 3 to 21. While well-child visits begin when your child is born, prenatal care is also very important for your child's health, so you may wish to make a prenatal visit with your doctor for prenatal care before you have your baby.
When should I make well-child visits?
Well-child visits can be made any time your doctor's office is open. Keep in mind that many parents will try to schedule well-child visits during the summer before school starts for public school requirements. This can make summers a busy time at the doctor's office, so if you want to avoid the rush be sure to plan. Another factor to consider is your child's health on the day of the visit. Is your child sick? You may wish to still see the doctor but for a sick-child visit instead of a well-child visit and then make the well-child visit for another day. This lets the doctor to see the child when they are feeling normal.
Why should I schedule well-child visits?
Even though many of the diseases that are screened/examined for at a well-child visit are rare, these diseases can be better treated when identified earlier. This makes well-child visits cost effective compared to an emergency room or urgent care visit when the problem has gotten out of hand.
How can I schedule these visits?
If your child already has a doctor who has seen them in the past, simply call your child's office to arrange an appointment time. If you have yet to establish care with a physician, another good starting point is to call your insurance company to find out what doctors are within both your network and in your area. If you don't have insurance and live in Wyandotte county, a variety of safety net clinics exist that can help you make and arrange payment for a well-child visit - just let us at Project EAGLE know and we can help you find a doctor.
What kind of doctor should I take my child to?
A pediatrician is a doctor who specializes in the health of kids from ages 0 to 21. A pediatrician attends school for 4 years before entering a residency program (3 years) which focuses on pediatric care. All told, the average American pediatrician undergoes roughly 12,000 to 14,000 hours of patient treatment and interaction before they're allowed to see patients on their own.