Everyone needs a regular check-up with their doctor.
It’s vitally important for health maintenance and the early detection of disease.
But when you’re thinking about your own health, make sure you don’t forget the kids!
Children’s developing bodies have many different needs at different times during their first two decades.
There are a number of important markers along the journey that shouldn’t be missed.
And there are certain symptoms or signs that should be investigated to ensure your young ones remain in tip top shape as they mark their own marks on the world.
Let’s start with how often you should book an appointment for your kids.
The first year of life
Your newborn is likely to have their first check-up in hospital, a few days after birth.
From there, it’s a pretty hectic first year to ensure your baby is happy and health with visits recommended at the following intervals:
- 2 weeks
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 12 months
Your paediatrician will be keen to monitor your baby’s growth and weight as well as other developmental milestones.
Vaccinations are free and are administered as per the National Immunisation Program Schedule.
If you have any concerns, feel free to raise them with your GP.
This is also an opportunity for parents to discuss any worries or experiences they may have with their doctor such as difficulties feeding, sleeping or general care of their child.
It’s also the time when postnatal depression may strike.
Up to 20 per cent of mothers experience some symptoms, usually around six weeks after birth.
The toddler (1-4 years)
An annual check-up is recommended for toddlers and pre-schoolers.
These visits track cognitive and physical development and look for any behavioural issues.
They also seek to ensure recommended vaccinations remain up to date.
Parents may wish to seek advice on how to best keep their toddlers safe around the house as well as feeding them a nutritious, balanced diet.
The primary schooler (5-12 years)
Annual check-ups remain advised with a view to monitoring physical growth.
This is when a child’s vision and hearing will be assessed with the classroom sometimes bringing issues to the forefront.
School-related health concerns such as head lice, chickenpox and more regular coughs and colds invariably crop up as children share the company of other kids on a daily basis.
This is also a time when social issues may become more obvious.
The high schooler (13-18 years)
It’s a good idea to maintain an annual check-up and this rings true for the majority of our adult years.
High school sees the onset of puberty and a raft of physical and emotional changes which can prove quite the rocky road not just for teenagers but Mum and Dad too.
Doctors can address any puberty-related concerns and provide guidance on sexual health and STD prevention.
They can also talk with your teens about the dangers of recreational drugs, alcohol abuse and mental health issues.
Sometimes, these discussions resonate better coming from a third party such as a GP, rather than with a parent.
These are also the years when sporting injuries and maintenance tend to occur.
While less common in boys, scoliosis or the curvature of the spine, affects up to one in 15 girls in this age group.
Reasons for regular check-ups
Getting into the habit of a regular check-up with your doctor is a great way to maintain the health of everyone in your family.
Here are the biggest reasons you should be booking your child an annual appointment from age one.
Monitor growth and development – Your doctor will keep a record of your child’s height and weight to ensure they fall within expected parameters and meet age-appropriate milestones.
Failure to meet those targets may indicate any number of conditions which need to be investigated and treated.
Vaccinations – Maintaining your child’s vaccination schedule is crucial to protect them from a range of preventable diseases.
These include diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, polio, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella and chickenpox.
Early detection – Like at any stage of life, early detection of health issues or disease is crucial to achieve the best possible outcomes.
These may include vision and hearing problems, allergies and other chronic conditions which require management to enhance your child’s life and learning capabilities.
Preventative care – Doctors can provide advice to children and their parents on nutrition, exercise and healthy life habits.
This helps guard against childhood obesity and the early onset of disease such as Type 2 diabetes.
Book an appointment
No-one ever said raising a child is easy.
There are challenges during every phase of their growth.
It’s all part of the fun but sometimes you need help along the way.
Your GP is the ideal sounding board and a great place to discuss any concerns you have about your child, be they physical, mental or behavioural.
Regular visits with your GP are an essential part of promoting and maintaining your child’s health and wellbeing.
They also set up good habits and practices for them to maintain into their adulthood.
Be aware that the above information is merely a guide and some children will need more frequent check-ups, depending on any medical conditions they have.
If you’re seeking a trusted doctor who can care for your child from birth, there’s no better place than one of our AHA Clinics at Seaford or Seaford Meadows.
Many of our doctors specialise in paediatrics and family medicine.
They can offer you a warm and friendly hand and will be by your child’s side all the way to their graduation.
Let one of our doctors become a part of your family.
Book an appointment here today at either our Seaford Road Day and Night Clinic or our Seaford Meadows Day and Night Clinic.