Family Health

Want to Keep Your Kids Healthy? Don't Put Off Those Well-Child Checks

Published: May 26, 2020

Among them is Methodist Physicians Clinic’s commitment to providing outstanding care to every member of the family, including children.

Another is parents’ instinct to protect their kids.

You may have canceled or postponed preventative care for your kids as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded. Keeping your children safe and healthy is your priority. For that same reason, you should schedule and attend those appointments to keep your kids on track. Clinic visits for vaccinations, well checks and sports physicals remain as important as ever for children and families.

Naturally, you may hesitate at the thought of bringing your children to a clinic, or you may want more information before scheduling an appointment. Here are answers to many questions that parents and guardians just like you have.

Why is it so important that my children have regular physicals, exams and vaccinations? 

Well-child visits are always important. Foremost, immunizations are primarily done at those visits. It’s also a time to track growth and development, as well as discuss safety, nutrition and any concerns a family has. These visits are also important because they help identify health issues before they escalate, and they maintain the continuity of care that’s important for children of all ages. 


What about now, amid concerns over COVID-19? 

It’s normal to be nervous about visiting a doctor’s office right now, but it’s as important as ever to continue well-child visits during this pandemic. The need for immunizations and other care remains. Continuing to have well-child appointments despite what’s going on in the world allows for that trusting relationship between a medical provider and the patient to evolve.  


What should I know about delaying or skipping visits? 

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that scheduled in-person visits should occur whenever possible and are necessary for vital services like comprehensive physical exams, laboratory testing, hearing/vision/oral health screenings and immunizations. Well-child visits should never be skipped. Well-child visits where immunizations are administered (newborn, 2 weeks through 18 months, kindergarten, seventh grade and older teen) should not even be delayed. 


What are the risks of skipping these appointments or putting them off too long?

By skipping or putting off these appointments, parents risk the resurgence of diseases that we have eliminated with vaccines as well as missing the identification of developmental delays and medical conditions.


Many parents delayed appointments as the COVID-19 pandemic was developing. What is Methodist Physicians Clinic doing to ensure patient, visitor and staff safety

We understand the concerns that may have caused parents to delay well-child visits. Our staff is doing everything we can to make these visits as safe as possible. This includes limiting who brings a child to the visit, screening before entering the building, masking for families and providers, scheduling well- and sick visits at different locations or times, rigorous sanitation, and telehealth appointments, when appropriate.


What should parents know about the safety and availability of care for other common concerns, such as ear infections, sprains and mild illness?

We are still here for all of your pediatric needs. Kids continue to get ear infections. Kids continue to have allergies. Kids continue to have injuries. We’re here to take care of all your child’s needs. Scheduling may look different right now as we try to keep everyone safe, but we still want you to call and come in when you have concerns or need care.


Are there alternatives like telehealth for children who may not need vaccinations or in-person care?

Some providers are offering telehealth (by phone and/or video) for issues where an in-person visit may not be required. Call your clinic to check availability and learn more.


Are there any children for whom it’s especially important to continue these appointments? 

It’s especially important that children who are due for vaccines have an in-person well-check. Children with developmental delays or families with concerns are also especially urged to keep their appointments.


We’re Here for You

This is an uncertain time for everyone. But know this: We’re here for you and your family, and we’re making our offices as safe as possible for you.

Requirements for schools or activities may have been altered because of COVID-19, but the recommendations for visits and vaccinations haven’t. Attending well-child checkups is one of the best things you can do to keep your children safe and healthy right now. 

As always, please contact your provider’s office by phone or via the patient portal with any questions or concerns. We would love to hear from you!

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About the Author

Dr. Sarah Broadhead is a pediatrician at Methodist Physicians Clinic. She loves children and is dedicated to delivering exceptional care to each of them.

Dr. Broadhead believes creating a partnership with parents and children is important, and her medical experience coupled with parents’ knowledge of their children leads to informed health care decisions.

See more articles from Sarah Broadhead, MD
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