Does My Child Really NEED All Those Well Baby / Child Visits?

doctors visit is protectedThis is a common question that parents discuss with each other and other parents because most of the time there is no change in status of your child and nothing of importance is noted by his/her Doctor. This is the good news we all wish to hear but there is more than the obvious monitoring going on at these visits, just as important as your child’s current good health. At an early age your baby is seen fairly frequently as growth and development is monitored closely. After all, these elements can predict the overall health of your child as he/she gets older. Developmental issues found early can be dealt with to help avoid later problems.

Also important at these early well baby visits is the frequent and regular administration of vaccines, the order of which is constantly studied to determine the best sequence for adequate immunization. There are many vaccines involved and many parents argue that it is too many for a young child. It turns out that no one vaccine will interfere with any other one and many can be given together; neither will the administration of several vaccines at the same time cause a more severe reaction. Most of these vaccines have very little in the way of significant reactions anyway and should not be feared by parents as the benefits of these vaccines far outweighs the chances of getting the illnesses or suffering any significant side effects.

At these visits a trained professional will also observe the interaction of child and parent which can help predict a smooth or difficult child rearing path. These “well child” visits also provide a time for parents to ask questions that can help allay their fears and give your child’s Doctor the opportunity to expand on these questions. There is a lot of information out there about child rearing and such issues as immunizations (previously discussed) – some real and truthful but some may very well be erroneous in nature – and might add to the normal sense of uncertainty that all parents have when raising children.

As your child gets older, the number of visits will become fewer because most of the early immunizations have already been given and that fragile newborn and early childhood period has already been observed and patterned. Of course one of the main reasons for all these visits is to pick up any early signs of illness or disease, process a very unusual situation as your child gets older but, of course, the earlier detection the better for a positive outcome.

The answer to the first question posed in this blog is that it is very important to follow the schedule of office visits set out by your Pediatrician as this schedule has been closely studied and turns out to be the optimal timing for good child care.

About the Author

Dr. Joseph Skoloff received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from The Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia. He is a past Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics, a past Chairman of the Infection Control Committee at the Loudoun Hospital Center and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In his 41 years as a practicing pediatrician he has kept hundreds of kids and families healthy and safe and plans to continue to do so for years to come. Dr. Joe believes strongly in the combined power of parent and physician working together for the health of their children. He is an advocate for children everywhere and and adheres strongly to the principles of the American Academy of Pediatrics. Dr Joe is a member of the PedSafe Expert team


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