When it comes to the health of your children, a visit with their pediatrician should be taken seriously. Parents often have wonders and worries as their children grow and develop, and there are certain topics that should be addressed at every doctor’s checkup. Here are just a few items to keep in mind when you schedule your next appointment.
1 Diet and Exercise
Query the doctor about whether your children are growing the way they should be. Discuss any concerns you have about what and how much your children are eating as well as how much exercise they are getting.
“When you leave the office, it’s our hope that you will have a better understanding of whether or not your child is at a healthy weight and growing appropriately,” notes Dr. Mary Callahan, a pediatrician with Preferred Pediatrics. “While a well child appointment may not allow time for an in depth conversation about how to achieve a more healthy weight for your child, it is a good starting place for a discussion of what you can begin to work on at home to achieve a healthier state for your child.”
2 Developmental milestones
Ask about any potential issues regarding development in your children, especially if they are young.
“Each child achieves skills at his or her own pace, but there are typical windows of time that are helpful for parental guidance,” shares Callahan. “As we get to know the children in our practice through the years at checkups, we develop a sense of what stage children are in and how to help them achieve these milestones.”
Whether your child is three or 13, it’s important to know what you can do to keep your child safer at home. Pediatricians can offer tips and suggestions regarding any potential hazards.
“A large number of injuries and deaths in children are the result of events no one ever thought could happen,” explains Callahan. She reminds the parents of her patients about many dangers, “from making sure not to use the stroller cup holder for hot coffee when you have a young infant to reminding your teenager to never let go of their own glass at a get together with their friends. Many of us have seen the unexpected scalding burn or the child who ingested a drug of some kind without ever suspecting it.”
Vaccinations are often a part of any checkup, and parents should be aware of what boosters their kids should get and at what age, as well as what kind of protection the immunization provides.
“The key word here is protection,” says Callahan. “Prevention of illness has been a cornerstone of the medical approach in the U.S. over the last 50 years, and has improved our longevity as a society. It's important to understand the risks of severe illness, and know what is currently available to defend against these risks.”
5 Family History
Finally, don’t forget to discuss your family health history with the doctor and how it may impact your child.
“It's important for a physician to understand the potential genetic tendencies that exist in close family,” says Callahan. “This way certain health parameters can sometimes be monitored in order to prevent—or at a minimum provide—early recognition and treatment for a particular disease.”