Child Well-Visits: 8 Questions to Ask at Your Next Appointment
November 25, 2019
Whether you are a new parent or have older kids, there are always things to learn about your child’s development and health. That’s why it’s important for you to schedule child-well visits with a pediatrician. Pediatricians are highly trained in the conditions of childhood, so they have a wealth of information you can use to keep your child healthy and happy.
When you take your child to the doctor for an illness or injury, it’s easy to keep track of what you want to talk about with the pediatrician. However, at a well-visit, your child’s overall health is the focus, so it can be hard to keep track of what you want to discuss with the doctor. In order to make sure you get the most out of your next appointment for a child well-visit, make a list of questions to ask using these eight suggestions as a starting point.
1. Is my child meeting milestones for growth and development?
Every child is different, so they do not always hit the same milestones at the same exact age. However, your pediatrician can discuss the age ranges certain developmental milestones should be met, especially in babies and toddlers. If your child is not meeting milestones for development or physical growth, then you and your doctor can discuss any steps you can take to help your child, like special diets for growth, speech therapy, or help with fine motor skills.
2. What vaccines does my child need now or in the near future? Can I get a copy of my child’s shot record?
Your child’s doctor will likely make sure you get reminders about needed vaccines, and yearly visits are a good way to keep up-to-date. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has a guide on the recommended child and adolescent immunization schedule. If the pediatrician does not give you information on what vaccines or boosters your child needs, make sure to ask so you can discuss what’s coming up and when your child needs certain shots.
3. What kind of seat should my child be using in the car?
You probably know the guidelines about what kind of car seat is safest for your child based on age, weight, and height, but you might still want to check in with their doctor to make sure you are using the safest option for your child. Plus, since your child will be weighed and measured during the well-visit, you will have the most up to date numbers.
4. Are there any infectious illnesses going around and how can I prevent my child from getting sick?
Ask your child’s doctor if they know of any illnesses affecting your area at the time. And if so, ask if there are steps you can take to protect your family from getting sick. While many contagious conditions can be vaccinated against, some things like stomach bugs, colds, and hand-foot-and-mouth disease cannot be prevented with vaccines. The pediatrician can give you tips on avoiding these conditions.
Also, some communities are still vulnerable to illnesses that have vaccines because a percentage of the population has chosen not to vaccinate, harming herd immunity. Outbreaks of measles, mumps, chickenpox, and other preventable diseases have occurred in several areas in recent years. So, make sure your child is up to date on vaccines and boosters they need.
5. When should my child go to the dentist?
Generally, pediatricians and pediatric dentists recommend that your child start seeing the dentist by their first birthday, if not as soon as their first teeth come in. However, if you want more guidance in your child’s case, then ask the pediatrician when your child should start having check-ups and when they need to move on to get regular cleanings. Also, if you have questions about when the right time is for your child to switch from training toothpaste to a toothpaste with fluoride.
6. Questions about any specific concerns you have about your child’s health or behavior.
No two children are the same, so if you have specific concerns about your child, make sure to bring them up with the pediatrician. They can be pretty thorough, but they cannot cover every possible issue. So, if your child is exhibiting unusual behavior or physical symptoms, put those questions on the list of things to be addressed. Possible topics might include:
- Vision problems (squinting, not being able to see the board at school, sitting too close to the TV)
- Behavioral issues (acting out of anger, difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity)
- Sleep issues or unusual fatigue
- Allergies and food sensitivities
- Breathing issues/asthma
7. Can you give me a referral for a specialist?
If your child has a problem that the pediatrician is not equipped to treat, like vision issues, your pediatrician is a good resource for recommendations on good providers. Many pediatricians have working relationships with doctors who specialize in pediatric dentistry, optometry/ophthalmology, allergies, or dermatology. They may also be able to provide you with options for counselors or mental health professionals if you have concerns about behavioral or emotional health.
8. When do I need to bring my child back?
Make sure you are familiar with the recommended schedule of well-visits. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ website for parents, healthychildren.org has a summary of the recommended schedule. Well-visits should be more frequent for babies and toddlers and then become yearly around age 3. Of course, you should make sure your child sees the pediatrician in cases of illness and injury, as well as for vaccinations.
Make an Appointment
Holly Springs Pediatrics is a family-oriented practice with two healthcare providers serving the Holly Springs area. We aim to create a safe and comfortable medical home for children and parents and believe in having an open and collaborative relationship with each patient. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s health or want to schedule a child well-visit, call (919) 249-4700. You can also request an appointment online.