Annual checkups are an important way to ensure your child is healthy and to track their development. They help to ensure that any health issues are identified early when treatment is typically most effective. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all children should have routine yearly examinations until they reach the age of 21.
A yearly checkup is a comprehensive assessment that aims to keep track of your child’s physical, behavioral, and emotional health and development. It is recommended even when your child isn’t sick or experiencing any symptoms to ensure that they are healthy and functioning optimally.
What Does a Yearly Checkup Involve?
During a checkup, your child’s health history is reviewed and a thorough, non-invasive, head-to-toe physical exam is carried out to evaluate important aspects of your child’s health. Depending on the age of your child, your provider may:
- Measure height and weight (and head circumference during infancy)
- Examine the eyes and ears and check vision and hearing
- Check body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing
- Watch your child walk to assess their gait and coordination
- Carry out a routine examination of the heart, lungs, and internal organs
- Check joints, reflexes, flexibility, and strength
- Check skin health
- Do a scoliosis exam to check for curvature of the spine
Your child will also be given age-appropriate immunizations to protect them from potentially serious childhood diseases.
These checkups are a great opportunity to ask questions or to raise any concerns that you or your child may have about their health, development, or well-being. If your provider identifies any potential health concerns during the checkup, they can recommend additional testing and the appropriate treatment to ensure the problem is managed effectively.
Depending on factors such as the age of your child, their health, and family history, your provider may recommend certain screening tests for your child. These are important tools for identifying underlying health conditions or developmental disorders, such as anemia, tuberculosis, diabetes, or autism, which would require intervention and treatment.
Common Screening Tests
For an annual checkup, regular physical examinations and screening tests are an important part of preventive healthcare in children. The age of your child, along with other factors, will determine which tests are necessary. Common screening tests can include:
- Eye exams and vision screenings.
- Hearing screenings – if your child has a suspected hearing deficit, formal testing by an audiologist may be necessary.
- Hemoglobin blood test to check for anemia (iron deficiency).
- Urinalysis to check for infections, kidney problems, and diabetes.
- Lead exposure blood testing for children considered at risk (recommendations vary by state).
- Testing for sickle cell disease (if not done as part of neonatal screening).
- Blood cholesterol screening test (to help assess your child’s risk of future heart disease).
- Tuberculosis screening testing using a skin test or blood test (if your child is at risk or has been exposed to tuberculosis).
- Routine laboratory screening (using urine, rectal, cervical, pharyngeal, or urethral specimens) for common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Indicated yearly for all sexually active adolescents.
- HIV screening for all adolescents between the ages of 15 and 18 years and annual screening for those at increased risk of HIV infection.
- Screening for hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Those at increased risk of HCV infection should be tested yearly.
Other screening tests such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD) screening, mental health screening tests, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder/attention deficit disorder (ADHD/ADD) screening, may be recommended for children and adolescents who may be exhibiting signs of these conditions.
Yearly Checkup in Tampa, Fl
A yearly checkup is an important way to stay on top of your child’s physical, emotional, and developmental healthcare needs. If you are looking for high-quality and compassionate pediatric care, visit the Children’s Medical Center in the greater Tampa/St. Petersburg, Florida, area. We provide comprehensive healthcare, including annual wellness checkups for patients from birth to 18 years of age.
To learn more about our pediatric services, contact us at one of our four convenient office locations in Trinity, Palm Harbor, Westchase, and Lutz, or you can schedule a consultation online using our convenient online request form.