Regular well-child examinations are essential to keeping kids healthy and up-to-date on immunizations against many dangerous childhood diseases.
A checkup also is an opportunity for your doctor to talk to you about developmental and safety issues and for you ask questions you might have about your child's overall health.
At yearly exams, the doctor will weigh and measure your child to make sure he or she is progressing along a normal pattern of growth. The doctor will take a medical and family history and perform a complete physical examination.
During the visit, your child will be screened for high blood pressure and you'll be asked about your child's history of lead exposure and your family's history of cardiovascular disease and hyperlipidemia (an excess of fat and cholesterol and/or other fats in the blood).
The doctor will check your child's immunization record to see if any vaccinations are needed. Booster doses of DTaP, IPV, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, and MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella) are usually given between your child's fourth birthday and school entry. A tuberculin skin test (PPD) may be done to check for exposure to tuberculosis. Before flu season, your child should also receive a flu shot.
The doctor will check for crossed eyes and any vision and hearing problems, and also check the teeth for tooth decay, abnormal tooth development, malocclusion (abnormal bite), dental injuries, or other problems. In addition to the doctor's dental evaluation, your child should be making regular visits to the dentist.
During this exam, the doctor will also check behavioral and social development, asking questions to see if your child's everyday behavior is age appropriate, how well your child operates in social situations, and how well he or she can communicate and understand directions.
Developmental milestones for 4-year-olds include being able to:
Developmental milestones for 5-year-olds include being able to:
Your child's doctor will also check physical milestones: Can your 4-year-old hop or jump on one foot? Has your 5-year-old mastered skipping?
Child safety is another topic of concern. Your doctor will cover the importance of using age-appropriate car seats, closely supervising kids around swimming pools, using bicycle helmets and other protective gear, not smoking around kids, using sunscreen, and protecting children against exposed wires, outlets, and heat sources. In homes with firearms, guns and ammunition should be stored separately and kept locked at all times.
Parents often can tell by their child's appearance if they are ill, but certain symptoms warrant a call to your doctor. Though they may represent a minor illness such as a cold or ear infection, some symptoms can also signal a more serious infection or a chronic condition, such as asthma.
Significant symptoms include:
Your doctor's office can answer questions about these and other common concerns and can be a helpful resource and support.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: September 2011
|American Medical Association (AMA) The AMA has made a commitment to medicine by making doctors more accessible to their patients. Contact the AMA at: American Medical Association|
515 N. State St.
Chicago, IL 60610
|American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) The AAP is committed to the health and well-being of infants, adolescents, and young adults. The website offers news articles and tips on health for families.|
|Fitness and Your 4- to 5-Year-Old Take advantage of your child's natural tendency to be active. Staying fit can help improve kids' self-esteem and decrease the risk of serious illnesses later in life.|
|Growth and Your 4- to 5-Year-Old Kids who are 4 to 5 years old continue to learn in a very physical way, but are more focused than when they were younger.|
|Finding Your Way in the Health Care System It can be stressful when your child needs medical attention, and more so when you're worried about where to get that care and how much it will cost. Here are some basics on managing the health care system.|
|Knowing Your Child's Medical History In an emergency, health care professionals will have many questions about a patient's medical history. It's easy to compile this information now, and it could save critical minutes later.|
|Your Child's Checkup: 4 Years Find out what this doctor's visit will involve and what your child might be doing by the fourth year.|
|Your Child's Checkup: 5 Years Find out what this doctor's visit will involve and what your child might be doing by the fifth year.|
|Communication and Your 4- to 5-Year-Old Communicating with our kids is one of the most pleasurable and rewarding parts of parenting. Learn how to connect with your 4- to 5-year-old.|
|Preparing Your Child for Visits to the Doctor When kids know they're "going to the doctor," many become worried about the visit. Here's how to help them.|
|Talking to Your Child's Doctor Building a relationship with your child's doctor requires communication and reasonable expectations.|
What to expect when coming to Akron Children's
For healthcare providers and nurses
Residency & Fellowships, Medical Students, Nursing and Allied Health
For prospective employees and career-seekers
Our online community that provides inspirational stories and helpful information.