Recommended Health Care Visits
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends regular health care visits at the following times:
- Before your baby is born (for first-time parents)
- Before your newborn leaves the hospital
- Within 3 to 5 days after birth
- During the first year of life—visits by 2 weeks of age, 4 weeks of age, and also at 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 months of age
- In early childhood—visits at 15, 18, 24, and 30 months of age as well as yearly at 3 and 4 years of age
- In middle childhood—yearly visits from 5 through 10 years of age
- In adolescence and early adulthood—yearly visits from 11 through 21 years of age
Preparing for Office Visits
It is important that your child sees us on a regular basis. At each visit, our doctors will examine your child and make sure your child
- Is eating and growing well
- Has all the recommended immunizations
- Stays healthy and safe
Before each visit, write down any questions you have so that you do not forget to ask us. Keep up-to-date records on your child’s growth and immunizations, and bring this information with you to each visit.
Also, remember to tell us about all treatments your child is using. This includes home remedies, over-the-counter remedies, and dietary supplements such as vitamins or herbs. And tell us if your child has seen any other health care professionals. Your child’s health and well-being depend on open communication, trust, and respect among all health care professionals.
What to Bring to Office Visits
- Insurance information
- List of medications and dosages your child is taking
- Copy of immunization records
- Current list of allergies
- Personal care supplies
- Toys/books for your child
When to Call the Doctor
You should always feel free to call our office, even if it’s for routine things like medicines, minor illnesses, injuries, behavior, or even parenting advice. Keep in mind, though, that we may not be able to answer your questions without seeing your child first.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell how sick your child is. However, urgent care or a trip to the hospital is usually not needed for a simple cold or cough, mild diarrhea, constipation, temper tantrums, or sleep problems. However, if your child has any of the following, call us to find out if he needs to be seen:
- Vomiting and diarrhea that last for more than a few hours in a child of any age
- Rash, especially if there is also a fever
- Any cough or cold that does not get better in several days, or a cold that gets worse and is accompanied by a fever
- Cuts that might need stitches
- Limping or is not able to move an arm or leg
- Ear pain with fever, is unable to sleep or drink, is vomiting, has diarrhea, or is acting ill
- Drainage from an ear
- Severe sore throat or problems swallowing
- Sharp or persistent pains in the abdomen or stomach
- Pain that gets worse or does not go away after several hours
- A rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher in a baby younger than 2 months
- Fever and repeated vomiting at the same time
- Blood in the urine
- Bloody diarrhea or diarrhea that will not go away
- Not drinking for more than 12 hours
Call 911 (or your emergency number) for any severely ill or injured child or if your infant or child has any of the following:
- Bleeding that does not stop with direct pressure over the wound
- Suspected poisoning (Call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.)
- Seizures (rhythmic jerking and loss of consciousness)
- Trouble breathing
- Skin or lips that look blue, purple, or gray
- Neck stiffness or rash with fever
- Head injury with loss of consciousness, confusion, vomiting, or poor skin color
- Sudden lack of energy or is not able to move
- Unconsciousness or lack of response
- Acting strangely or becoming more withdrawn and less alert
- A cut or burn that is large, deep, or involves the head, chest, abdomen, hands, groin, or face
During a scheduled checkup, ask our doctors what you should do and where you should go if your child needs emergency care. Learn basic first aid, including CPR. Keep emergency and Poison Help line (1-800-222-1222) numbers posted by your telephone.
Tips Before and During a Call to the Doctor
We prefer that you call with general questions during office hours. Before you call, have a pen and paper ready to write down any instructions and questions. It’s easy to forget things, especially if you are worried about your child. During the call make sure your child is near the phone, if possible, in case you need to answer any questions.
Also, be prepared to provide information about your child’s health (see below).
- Fever. If you think your child has a fever, take your child’s temperature before you call. If your child does have a fever, write down the temperature and time you took it.
- Medical problems. Remind the doctor about past medical problems (such as asthma, seizures, or other conditions). We care for many children each day and may not remember your child’s health history.
- Medicines. Be sure to mention if your child is taking any medicines, including prescription or nonprescription drugs, inhalers, supplements, vitamins, herbal products, or home remedies.
- Immunizations. Keep immunization records at hand. These are especially helpful if your child has an injury that may require a tetanus shot or if pertussis (whooping cough) is in your community.
- Pharmacy. Have the phone number of your pharmacy ready.
If the doctor needs to return your call, make sure you are available for a callback. Unblock your phone “call block,” and keep phone lines open so that we can return your call in a timely manner. If you leave a cell phone number, be sure that you have your cell phone on and will be in an area where you can receive calls.
*Adapted from the handout ‘You and Your Pediatrician’ from the American Academy of Pediatrics