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Well-child checkups may help keep healthy kids on track

Childhood is a time of rapid growth and change. Give your kids a healthy start in life! Make wellness checkups a part of their growing-up years. 

These routine exams by a primary care doctor are often called well-child visits. They start with newborns — and continue through the teen years.

Why do kids need well-child visits?

Taking kids to the doctor when they’re healthy helps you make sure they’re growing and developing as they should. It helps to prevent future problems too.

These checkups help build your child’s medical history. That means your child’s doctor will have more information to base treatment decisions on if problems come up later.

Wellness visits are also a chance to:

Get recommended tests and vaccines. Each visit usually includes a thorough physical exam — as well as age-appropriate screenings, such as hearing and vision tests. Vaccines to help protect your child from serious diseases will also be offered. (See “Why kids need vaccines.”)

Track important milestones. You’ll see if your child’s height and weight are in a healthy range. Your doctor will check that youngsters are learning important skills, such as smiling, rolling over and making friends. As older kids approach puberty, it may be helpful to talk with a doctor about how their bodies are changing.

Pick up parenting pointers. Your child's doctor will also talk about other wellness topics, making checkups a great chance to ask questions. You might talk about your child’s sleep habits, nutrition, behavior and safety — or how to help them make wise choices as they grow up.

Your child’s doctor will give you a schedule of how often to bring your child in. If you’re tempted to skip these visits, remember: You’re setting your child on the path to a healthy future. And that’s worth every minute. 

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