Health Checkups Are Crucial to a Lifetime of Well-Being
Every child needs a well-child visit with their primary care provider (PCP) to make sure they are healthy and developing normally. A PCP could be a doctor, a physician assistant or a nurse practitioner and will be involved in the care of the child for many years. By making these appointments, parents are taking one of the most important steps toward promoting their child’s well-being.
At these checkups, the PCP can prevent health problems or catch them early, leading to treatment before the problems become more serious. Parents also have a chance to ask any questions they may have about their child’s behavior or development.
Your child’s well-child appointment includes seven key components that will help keep your child on the path to being healthy their entire life:
1. Review of the child’s health history. During this part of the visit, the PCP will review the child’s past medical, family and interval history (which identifies any concerns in between doctor visits).
2. Complete physical exam, including the child’s measurements
3. Lab tests (as needed). Children are routinely screened for elevated lead levels and anemia at 1 and 2 years old. Other lab tests may be performed if needed.
4. Immunizations (shots). These are vaccines to protect your child from getting certain infectious diseases. To find additional information about immunizations for children and adults, please visit these resource links:
- 2017 Recommended Immunizations for Children from Birth to 6 years old
- 2017 Recommended Immunizations for Children 7 – 18 years old
5. Vision and hearing screening.
Your child will be referred to a specialist for any problems with hearing and eyesight that are discovered in the screening.
6. Developmental and Behavioral Assessment. The PCP can help if your child is having trouble with issues such as developmental delay, anger management, ADHD, alcohol or drug abuse, depression, an eating disorder, or any other concerns
7. Advice on how to keep your child healthy.
Where Can Children Get Checkups?
- Your pediatrician, family physician or nurse practitioner, also known as the Primary Care Provider
- Health department
- Other providers (such as mobile clinics or school-based clinics)
Parents should try to schedule check-ups with the same primary care provider each time because this person will know their child and his or her medical history best.
Babies need to visit the doctor every few weeks or months until they reach age 3, and children need checkups every year after that. Call your child's PCP, insurance plan or local health department today to schedule an appointment. Click here for a full checkup schedule for your child, from birth to early adulthood.
Remember, if any new concerns arise at any time, whether identified by a parent, teacher or anyone else, make an appointment with the child’s primary care provider for further evaluation.
TennCare Kids is a full program of checkups and healthcare services for children who have TennCare. These services make sure babies, children, teens and young adults receive the healthcare they need. Children and teens need regular health checkups, even when they seem healthy.
If you’re not in TennCare but think you might be eligible, or you have questions, contact the Tennessee Health Connection at 855-259-0701.
Click here to learn more about the TennCare Kids program and find links to additional services.
For simple steps families can take to get healthier—including tips for healthy eating, exercise, good sleeping habits and dental health—check out Healthier Tennessee’s Small Starts For Families tool.