Many parents may wonder why we are so insistent on "well child checks." Here are just a few of the reasons:
We pick up subtle things on physicals that could be missed otherwise. Hernias, unusual moles or skin lesions, high blood pressure, abnormal heart murmurs, and scoliosis are all examples of what we can detect on physicals that generally won't be noticed during a sick visit.
We want to annually assess your child's development and environment. This includes checking height and weight, diet and nutrition, family environment, school performance, behavioral and discipline topics, and safety and prevention issues. Discussing all these things takes time and can't be crammed into sick visits.
We want to answer any questions you have about your child's growth and development. This is easier on you if your child is well at the time: a cranky, ill child can make a relaxed pace for asking questions difficult.
We recommend that children get screening blood work, vision and hearing testing, and/or vaccines several times during their childhood and young adulthood. Again, it's better to do these things when your child is well rather than battling a cold.
Most schools, as well as daycares, summer camps, and sports programs, require physicals to participate. If your child has been getting annual physicals, you won't have to rush to the office when your teenage basketball star comes home and says, "Dad, I need this physical form filled out by Wednesday."
Last but not least, we like to see healthy kids in our office as well as sick ones! Establishing a doctor-patient relationship when your child is well saves us (and you) time, later when she's ill.