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Well Child

Medical Encyclopedia: Well-child visits


Childhood is a time of rapid growth and change. Pediatric well-child visits are most frequent when the child’s development is most rapid.

Each visit includes a complete physical examination. This will assess the infant or young child's growth and development and help identify problems early. Height, weight, and other important information is recorded and considered. Hearing, vision, and other tests will be a part of some visits. Such preventive care is important for raising healthy children.

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Well-child visits are also key times for communication. Expect to be given information about normal development, nutrition, sleep, safety, infectious diseases that are "going around," and other important topics for parents.

Make the most of these visits by writing down your most important questions and concerns to bring with you.

Special attention is paid to whether the infant has met the normal developmental milestones. The height, weight and head circumference is recorded on a graph, which the health care provider keeps with the infant's chart. You also can keep your own graphs of the height, weight, and head circumference. This can be a great start for discussion. Ask your doctor about the body mass index (BMI) curve, which is the most important tool for identifying and preventing obesity.

There are several schedules for routine well-child visits. One schedule, recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, is given below.

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A visit with a pediatrician before the baby is born is important for first-time parents, those with high-risk pregnancies, and any other parent who wishes to discuss common issues such as feeding, circumcision, and general questions.

After the baby is born, the next visit should be 2-3 days after bringing the baby home (for breast-fed babies) or when the baby is 2-4 days old (for all babies discharged from a hospital before 2 days old). For experienced parents, some practitioners will delay the visit until 1-2 weeks of age.

Thereafter, visits should occur at the following points:

By 1 month (although experienced parents can wait until the next time, 2 months) 
2 months 
4 months 
6 months 
9 months 
1 year 
15 months 
18 months 
2 years 
3 years 
4 years 
5 years 
6 years 
8 years 
10 years 
Each year after that until age 21 
Of course, visits and phone calls to a health care provider should be made any time a baby or child seems ill or whenever the parent is concerned about a baby's health or development.
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Physical examination:

Temperature measurement (see also normal body temperature) 
Breath sounds 
Heart sounds 
Infantile reflexes 
Standard ophthalmic exam 
Neonatal jaundice 


Immunizations - general overview 
Babies and shots 
Diphtheria immunization (vaccine) 
Pertussis immunization (vaccine) 
Tetanus immunization (vaccine) 
DPT immunization (vaccine) 
Hib immunization (vaccine) 
Polio immunization (vaccine) 
Hepatitis B immunization (vaccine) 
MMR immunization (vaccine) 
Influenza immunization (vaccine) 
Pneumococcal immunization (vaccine) 
Hepatitis A immunization (vaccine) 
Varicella (chickenpox) immunization (vaccine) 
Meningcococcal (meningitis) immunization (vaccine) 
Human papilloma virus (vaccine) 
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Diet and intellectual development 
Appropriate diet for age 
Infant formulas 
Breast feeding 
Balanced diet 
Fluoride in diet 
Obesity in children 
Growth and development:

Infant - newborn development 
Toddler development 
Preschooler development 
School age child development 
Adolescent development 
Developmental milestones 
Developmental milestones record - 2 months 
Developmental milestones record - 4 months 
Developmental milestones record - 6 months 
Developmental milestones record - 9 months 
Developmental milestones record - 12 months 
Developmental milestones record - 18 months 
Developmental milestones record - 2 years 
Developmental milestones record - 3 years 
Developmental milestones record - 4 years 
Developmental milestones record - 5 years 
Preparing a child for an office visit is much like test and procedure preparation.

See:Infant test/procedure preparation 
Toddler test/procedure preparation 
Preschooler test/procedure preparation 
School age test/procedure preparation       

Update Date: 7/26/2007 

Updated by: Daniel Rauch, M.D., FAAP., Director, Pediatric Hospitalist Program, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

 A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission ( URAC's accreditation program is the first of its kind, requiring compliance with 53 standards of quality and accountability, verified by independent audit. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial process. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics ( and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2008, A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited. Return to top

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Disclaimer: This web site has been designed by LUV-N-CARE PEDIATRICS to provide general information. It is not intended to substitute or replace medical advice provided by your pediatrician. LUV-N-CARE PEDIATRICS takes no responsibility for the accuracy and content of this web site or of the links from this web site. Visiting this web site DOES NOT establish a patient-physician relationship with any LUV-N-CARE PEDIATRICS staff or physician. If you need specific medical advice, please see your physician or you may contact this office for an appointment.
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