Your child will undergo medical
tests from the moment they are born. Most of these tests are simply to
determine their general health and development. Others are conducted when an
illness or problem is suspected. While their doctor will generally keep you
informed about what tests and shots are needed, it’s always good to inform
yourself as well. Here are some of the most common tests and treatments.
claims that vaccinations are potentially dangerous to children’s health,
doctors who specialize in preventive health recommend a full course of vaccines
for children starting at one month of age. Unless they are in a high-risk
category and need to have their vaccines postponed.
necessary to weigh the risks and benefits yourself to make an informed
decision. Vaccines are surrounded by controversy. Some people adamantly refuse
vaccines and others make their child’s appointments like clockwork,
children under 12, these vaccinations include:
A and B
(diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis).
also recommend an annual flu vaccine for all children. After age 12, a tetanus
booster every 10 years is standard. The Centers for Disease Control and
also recommends that all children be immunized for the human papillomavirus
(HPV), which is the most common sexually transmitted infection.
child should have their first vision screening before age 5, even if you
haven’t noticed any eye problems. Your doctor will usually do basic eye tests
at yearly physicals. If there is a problem, an early eye exam will ensure you
catch it before it becomes serious.
When your child’s
first tooth appears, it’s time to rejoice. It’s also time to see a dentist.
Early examinations will help protect your child’s teeth and set up a lifetime
of good dental health. The American
(ADA) recommends children have their first dental appointment within six months
of getting their first tooth and no later than their first birthday. Follow the
first trip with semiannual visits for teeth cleaning and exams.
Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Check
High cholesterol and
high blood pressure aren’t adult-only diseases. Children and babies can have
these health conditions too. The American
Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) recommends all children between the ages of 9 and 11 be screened for high
cholesterol. Your pediatrician will also likely begin annual blood pressure
tests around age 3.
Weight and Height Measurement
Your child’s body
mass index (BMI) may be the best way to track his or her overall growth and
development. BMI is calculated by multiplying weight (in pounds) by 703, and
then dividing by height (in inches) squared. Your child’s doctor will
monitor their growth at each appointment, whether they are there for a physical
or for illness.
Kids in this age
range should get a yearly checkup or physical. This gives your child’s doctor
ongoing view of your child’s health and enables the doctor to notice any
dramatic changes. This appointment also affords your child the chance to talk
to a health professional about his or her changing body.
adolescents are at temperamental stages in their lives. As their hormones
change, there’s no escaping that. There’s also no escaping the fact that many
of them no longer confide in their parents about problems. Many doctors provide
an emotional screening during the annual physical. If you are concerned about
your teen’s mood or demeanor or notice signs of an eating disorder, make an
appointment to talk with someone.
Many middle and high
schools provide annual scoliosis screenings to check students for abnormal
curvatures of the spine. This is a simple test where the doctor feels your
spine through your clothing. It’s important that young people have this
screening. Scoliosis usually first appears during or following the prepuberty
The American Congress of
Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends each young woman have her first
gynecological visit between the ages of 13 and 15, regardless of sexual
activity. This doesn’t mean she will have her first pelvic exam or Pap smear.
Instead, the first visit lays the groundwork for future visits and provides an
opportunity for the doctor to discuss periods, cramps, sex, and birth control
treatments, and screenings may arise as your child grows and experiences
possible illness or risks. These, however, represent the most common.