Well-Child Visits and Physical Exams

Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital pediatricians and family medicine providers begin well-child visits immediately following birth and continue to offer them through adolescence. We use these important checkups to track your child’s growth and development and to promote healthy habits.

Kids are developing quickly from birth to age 3, so health exams happen frequently. At age 3, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends yearly well-child exams for children.

Visits with your child’s provider are just as important when they’re healthy as when they are sick. For some kids, particularly healthy kids, this is the only time they will visit their provider.

Annual well-child visits

At Children’s Hospital, we use regular checkups to prevent illness by ensuring kids receive a thorough health exam and have their vital signs monitored. These visits also:

  • Allow for the early detection of issues related to their social, emotional and educational development
  • Let providers know your child is growing properly – and have healthy eating and nutrition habits that won’t lead to obesity, which can be a pathway to diabetes
  • Encourage your child and provider to develop a trusting, long-term relationship
  • Build your child’s medical history, which other providers can rely on as your child ages
  • Allow your provider to monitor or manage inherited diseases – for example, they may order a cholesterol panel if there is heart disease in the family history
  • Serve as an opportunity for you to ask questions and get advice about what behavior is “normal” for specific ages

The annual well-child exam may be considered a back-to-school exam. It is a good time for the provider to fill out any medical paperwork that is required for your child to attend school.

Sports physicals

One type of checkup is a sports physical. The goal of a sports physical is to prevent injury, illness or even the death of a student athlete. The physical exam ensures your child is healthy enough to participate in strenuous physical activity.

Comprehensive sports health examinations occur six or more weeks before the sports season begins. The sports physical evaluates:

  • Nutrition
  • Heart and vascular function
  • Joint and bone health
  • Lung function
  • Any medical conditions that rule out participation in sports

Pediatricians or family medicine providers consider the individual needs of your child. During the sports physical, they may also:

  • Address concussion prevention
  • Recommend rehabilitation of a previous injury before restarting activity
  • Offer education about how to prevent overuse or overtraining injuries as a way of keeping your student athlete safe

The sports physical is usually less comprehensive than an annual checkup, so consider it an addition to – rather than a replacement of – the well-child exam.

Vaccinations

LVHN providers believe vaccines are a proven way to keep your infant, child or teenager healthy. Immunizations protect your child from 16 vaccine-preventable diseases. These diseases can be harmful; some are even life-threatening. By choosing vaccination, you’re helping your child live a long, healthy life.

Your child’s pediatrician or family medicine provider follows age-specific vaccine recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the AAP.
Learn about immunization schedules.

Do You Know When to Get Your Child Vaccinated?

If you don’t know when your child should be vaccinated and what immunizations should be given, here’s a helpful chart detailing guidelines from newborn to pre-teen years.

See immunization chart