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3/8/22 blog post

the importance of well-child visits following the pandemic

The worst of the pandemic seems to be behind us and many of us are wearily emerging from our homes after two years of masking, virtual learning, and quarantining. Three months into 2022, we’re trying to find a new normal.

One way to help reset is to get up to speed on routine well-visits with your child’s pediatrician. These well-visits are critical to your child’s health. Not only are they an opportunity to get their routine childhood vaccinations, but these appointments are also used to determine how they’re growing and developing as they get older.

With many families foregoing well-visits due to the pandemic, it’s important to get back on track to quickly identify health concerns, including:

  • Scoliosis: Typically, scoliosis screenings are done at well-child visits, as well as annual screenings at school for elementary and middle school students. These screenings are meant to catch any curvature of the spine so that early intervention is possible. Due to the pandemic, many in-school screenings were cancelled, and well-child visits delayed, which means many children may have a curve in their spine that has gone undetected or even become more severe. This delay in care could result in more advanced cases of scoliosis that may require surgery.

  • Vision and hearing: During your child’s annual visit with their pediatrician, they perform routine vision and hearing tests. The results of these tests determine whether they need to see a specialist for their vision, like an ophthalmologist or optometrist, or an ENT specialist or audiologist for their hearing. Keeping up with these screenings is important so that early intervention, like glasses, is possible. Identifying any problem areas early, also prevent learning delays down the road.

  • Developmental delays: At regular well-visits, your pediatrician may have you fill out a questionnaire or ask you a series of questions to determine how your child is developing. These questions are meant to gauge whether your child is meeting developmental milestones, and if not, what interventions might be necessary. Responses to these questions may also help to identify autism spectrum disorders, allowing you to get your child the tools and resources they need to thrive.

  • Growth/thyroid/hormone issues: Growth/thyroid/hormone issues: Every well-child visit will include getting your child’s height and weight. Keeping close track of these measurements on a growth chart helps to determine how your child is growing. If your child starts to deviate from their chart, it may require treatment or intervention from a pediatric endocrinologist that specializes in growth disorders. Poor growth can be a sign of a thyroid or pituitary problem, and endocrinologists can check those too.

In life after the pandemic, routine well-child visits can be far from routine. It’s important to keep up to date with regular well visits to ensure they are growing and developing into happy and healthy children.