Regular wellness checks and physical exams are a key part of your child’s overall health and development. Not only do they help to make sure your child is healthy and growing well, both physically and emotionally, but they also help to identify any health concerns early on.
Child wellness checks and physicals are best carried out by a pediatrician. Pediatricians are medical doctors who specialize in the unique health needs of children aged from newborn to 18 years old.
Let’s talk about why it is so important to have regular physicals for your child, and where you can go in Greater Tampa for outstanding pediatric care to keep your child thriving.
What’s Involved in a Child Checkup?
A regular checkup provides comprehensive healthcare for your child, including:
- Diagnosing and treating a wide range of common childhood illnesses and injuries
- Preventive care, such as immunizations against serious illnesses
- Information and advice about things like nutrition, hormone changes (especially during puberty and the teenage years), behavioral issues, and anything else
- Identifying and monitoring physical, behavioral, and emotional health and development
- Diagnosing and managing chronic conditions
- Coordinating care with other healthcare professionals when necessary
During the checkup, your pediatrician will first review your child’s medical history – which may include medications, surgeries, injuries, hospitalizations, and any previous or existing health concerns. The pediatrician will ensure that your child is fully up-to-date with their vaccinations. The pediatrician will then perform the physical exam.
A child’s physical exam will vary based on various age-specific stages and gender-specific issues. This checkup is valuable in monitoring any developmental issues, functional problems, mental health disorders, and social stresses.
The Purpose of Having a Physical
The physical exam gives your pediatrician the chance to evaluate your child’s growth and physical development, and to address any issues. It is also intended to help prevent serious childhood illnesses by identifying any symptoms in their early stages.
The physical exam is a thorough checkup that involves careful observation, palpation (feeling with the fingers), and auscultation (listening to sounds, typically with a stethoscope). Each physical focuses on areas including:
- Blood pressure levels
- Oxygen levels
- Examination of the ears, nose, and throat
The pediatrician will also listen to and examine your child’s abdomen, chest, heart, and lungs. The doctor will check for any abnormalities such as an irregular heartbeat or fluid buildup in the lungs.
How Often Should My Child Have a Physical Exam?
Routine well-child checkups and physicals are recommended at regular intervals throughout infancy, early childhood, and adolescence. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends regular visits at the following stages:
- Infancy: Your newborn will receive a medical wellness check, ideally another visit within 3-5 days of birth, and a follow-up appointment 2 weeks after. Well-child visits then take place at 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 months. However, your child’s pediatrician may recommend more frequent visits if there is a health condition that warrants monitoring.
- Toddlers: Well child physicals are recommended when the child is 15, 18, 24, 30, and 36 months of age.
- Age 3 and up: By the age of 3, well-child physicals typically move to a yearly schedule. Adults should also have annual physicals, so this habit should continue after childhood to ensure optimum health.
Children’s Physicals in Palm Harbor, Trinity, Westchase, and Lutz, Florida
The compassionate and experienced medical staff here at Children’s Medical Center are dedicated to providing your child with the highest quality pediatric healthcare in a nurturing environment. We serve patients up to age 18, and we offer routine well-child checkups, sports physicals, urgent care, and same-day sick visits, and in-office laboratory services.
Our board-certified pediatricians are available 7 days a week. To find out more about our services, contact us at one of our four convenient locations in Trinity, Palm Harbor, Westchase, and Lutz.