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Routine Checkups

Routine well-child visits allow your child's doctor to keep a close eye on your child's general health and development. You also can discuss any concerns you have at these appointments. It may help you to go with a prepared list of questions(What is a PDF document?).

Physical exam

The doctor typically will:

  • Measure your child's weight and height. These measurements are plotted on a growth chart to see how your child compares to other children of the same age. This chart is updated at each routine exam to document the child's growth pattern. You can check your child's body mass index (BMI) at home to estimate whether your child is at a healthy weight for his or her height, age, and gender. To find out your child's BMI, use this Interactive Tool: What Is Your Child's BMI?
  • Check your child's blood pressure.
  • Examine your child for any visible problems.
  • Ask you about your child's eating and sleeping habits.
  • Review your child's immunization record(What is a PDF document?). Needed immunizations are given or scheduled.

For more information, see:

Routine screening tests for hearing and vision take place during the preschool years. A specialist may do formal tests if your child's screening results are poor or if there are any developmental concerns at ages 2 to 5.

Mental and emotional health

The doctor will talk with both you and your child to get a sense of your child's mental, emotional, and social development. Questions typically cover:

  • Whether any noticeable behavioral changes have occurred.
  • Your child's and family's general well-being. The doctor also observes how you and your child interact.
  • How your child reacts to strangers.
  • How your child plays and interacts with peers.
  • Whether you have any concerns about issues such as toilet training, preschool, or troubling behaviors.
  • Your child's language, hearing, and social skills. The doctor asks your child questions to briefly assess these and related developmental issues. For example, the doctor may ask your child about his or her favorite activities and the names of his or her friends.

In addition to the above assessments, doctors usually ask questions specific to a child's age.

Caring for your child's teeth is also important for your child's health. Schedule regular visits every 6 months or as your dentist recommends. For more information, see the topic Basic Dental Care.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: October 18, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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