HealthCheck

Making the most of well-child visits

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Melissa Schuss has her hands full with 19-month-old twins Ava and Angelina. "It keeps us on our toes," she says with a smile.

With the girls changing daily, Dr. David Pollack, of the Children's Hospital Care Network, says 'well visits' are important in tracking their progress.

"How is the child growing and thriving? Where is the child developmentally?" says Dr. Pollack.

In addition to physical measurements. Dr. Pollack also looks at a child's emotional development.

"How are they eating? How are they sleeping? What's their temperament?" Dr. Pollack says.

He suggests parents use their first-hand knowledge, and jot down notes or question between visits.

Schuss suggests a smartphone for filming both milestones and special issues.

"One of the children was making a noise, and so we filmed that as well, so we could bring it into the doctor," he says.

Checkups are also a good time to make sure immunizations are up-to-date - though Ava and Angelina weren't too happy about that.

Dr. Pollack says teenagers need well visits, too.

He uses those to encourage teens to eat well, be active, and avoid risky behaviors.

Dr. Pollack says, "I generally try to ask if their friends are smoking or drinking, because they are generally doing what their buddies are doing."

Dr. Pollack says neither parents nor patients should feel embarrassed about their questions or concerns.

If you have a teenager, it might be good idea to step out of the room, so the doctor can have a private conversation with your child.

(Copyright ©2014 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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