Keep Your Child Healthy with Regular Well-Child Visits

Keep Your Child Healthy with Regular Well-Child Visits

Keep Your Child Healthy with Regular Well-Child Visits

Lee esto en EspañolParents take their children to the doctor when they’re sick. But regular well-child visits to a pediatrician or other health provider are just as important. Getting those checkups and recommended vaccinations help keep children healthy.

What Is a Well-Child Visit?

Rather than just taking your child to the doctor when they're sick, this wellness checkup let's your child's doctor make sure they are healthy. Your child’s doctor will:

  • Do a physical exam.
  • Give any needed shots.
  • Track and record your child’s growth, development and behavior.
  • Talk about illness prevention, eating habits, physical fitness, and health and safety issues.
  • Give tips on how to handle emergencies and sudden illness.

Well-child visits should start shortly after a baby is born and continue through age 21. Ages for well-child visits for infants and young children are:

  • Three to five days old
  • 1 month old
  • 2 months old
  • 4 months old
  • 6 months old
  • 9 months old
  • 12 months old
  • 15 months old
  • 18 months old
  • 2 years old (24 months)
  • 2 ½ years old (30 months)

Starting at 3 years old, children should have a well-child visit every year through age 21.

In this video, Dr. Derek Robinson, Chief Medical Officer at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, explains what your child needs and when.

Don’t Put It Off

It can be easy to miss regular checkups, but they’re important. Well-child visits offer many benefits.

Tracking Growth
Well-child visits are essential for tracking growth and development. During the visits, you can talk with the doctor about your child’s behavior, sleep and eating patterns. You can ask about social behavior and learning. 

These visits are an opportunity to ask questions about safety at home or at school. They’re also the time to get scheduled vaccinations to prevent illness. Children protected by vaccines are less likely to get sick with health problems like measles and whooping cough. These diseases are very contagious and can be serious for babies and infants.

Common developmental delays are also found during routine checkups, and early action makes a big difference. Your child gets the support needed before something small becomes a bigger issue. 

Discuss Concerns
Bring your top health and development questions. Wellness visits are your opportunity to discuss any concerns or questions you have with your child’s doctor. 

Team Approach
Regular wellness visits also help you and your child build a bond with your child’s doctors, nurses and other caregivers.

Plan Your Child’s Preventive Care

The American Academy of Pediatrics provides a schedule of recommended preventive care for children leaving site icon starting soon after they’re born. You can use it to plan your child’s preventive care visits and immunizations.

Sources: AAP Schedule of Well-Child Care Visits, leaving site icon American Academy of Pediatrics, 2023; Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care, leaving site icon American Academy of Pediatrics, 2023

Originally published 4/22/2022; Revised 2023, 2024