Pediatric checkup represent periodic medical examination conducted by pediatricians with the aim of ensuring the health and proper development of children.
In general, at our Gran Alacant Clinic, they consist of a conversation and an exhaustive evaluation of the child with the aim of identifying possible signs and illnesses that parents may not have detected, although on certain occasions they may coincide with a common illness for their age.
The number and schedule of pediatric consultations vary according to the autonomous community and even the health centre. Moreover, in each instance, the professionals conducting the check-up may differ: pediatricians, nurses specialised in pediatrics and/or midwives.
During these medical checkups, the health professional conducts a discussion on various aspects of health, such as nutrition, sleep, bowel habits and family relationships. It is particularly relevant, especially in young children, to assess psychomotor and psychosocial development, as early detection and timely intervention in case of neurodevelopmental disturbances can be crucial for a faster recovery from symptoms. It is important to keep in mind that not all children will reach psychomotor developmental milestones within a specific time frame, but that there is a more or less extended period during which it is considered normal for them to acquire them.
At what age do pediatric checkup take place?
It is essential to be familiar with your health centre’s schedule of check-ups so as not to miss any, particularly those that correspond to the first year of life. At Clínica Gran Alacant we carry out pediatric reviews for children from 3 years of age.
Pediatric checkup from 3 to 6 years
Pediatric review from 3 to 6 years: Between the ages of 2 and 4 years, check-ups are less frequent, as parents tend to notice any problems more obviously and will seek out the pediatrician if necessary. Usually, assessments are carried out at 4 and 6 years of age, coinciding with vaccinations at that age. Aspects to consider during this stage are as follows:
- Psychomotor growth and development.
- Oral health: It is recommended to brush teeth from the time they erupt and to maintain good hygiene, avoiding foods with added sugars.
- Sleep: Establishing a solid sleep routine from early childhood helps to ensure restful sleep in adulthood.
- Safety: Emphasis is placed on safety in cars, parks and homes to prevent accidents, which are a leading cause of death at this age.
- Behaviour: Behavioural observation in the consultation and interview with parents allows for the identification of normal and abnormal patterns in social and educational development.
- Visual acuity: An assessment is performed to detect vision problems not detected by parents or teachers.
- Bladder and rectal control: By the end of this stage, the child is expected to have achieved full bladder and bowel control. If not, possible causes will be investigated.
These examinations contribute to the comprehensive monitoring of the child’s development and well-being at this crucial stage.
Pediatric screening 6-9 years
6-9 years pediatric screening: During this stage, children experience steady growth and a significant increase in motor and social skills, moving towards pre-adolescence.
It is essential to monitor food intake, as they must consume enough calories and protein to support their growth and daily activities. Sleep also plays a key role; a range of 9-11 hours per night is recommended, following a regular routine even at weekends, and ensuring a quiet environment in their room.
Towards the end of this period, the first signs of pubertal development begin to appear, such as hardening of the nipple in girls (telarche) and enlargement of the testicles in boys. Over time, other secondary sexual characteristics will appear, such as hair in the pubic and armpit area, as well as changes in body odour. Detecting signs of early puberty is crucial to prevent premature pubertal development, which may limit final height according to genetic factors.
Pediatric screening 10-13 years
Pediatric checkup 10-13 years: At this crucial stage of adolescence, significant changes are experienced.
The child’s body gradually transforms into that of a future adult, accompanied by psychological changes in personality, social relationships and interests, which parents must be prepared to deal with.
In medical terms, healthy habits such as sleep, nutrition and exercise are reviewed. To this are added considerations about the consumption of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, as there is an increase in the early use of these substances, which can have serious consequences in an organism that is still immature to metabolise them.
It is crucial to openly address sexuality in adolescence and provide information on contraceptive methods to prevent risky sexual practices that may lead to incurable sexually transmitted infections or unwanted pregnancies.
Screening for problems of self-esteem, body image, eating disorders and family or social challenges should not be neglected. Identifying these problems early can prevent future mental health problems and avoid the development of disorders such as anorexia and the risk of suicide.
Pediatric check-up at 14 years of age
Pediatric checkup at age 14: We come to the last consultation with the pediatrician, with whom the child is likely to have a long-standing relationship.
At this key moment, we review the issues previously addressed. Ensuring the completeness of the childhood immunisation schedule is essential, as pediatricians and pediatric nurses prioritise vaccinations, compared to family doctors who may omit some.
Providing health and self-care advice to adolescents is crucial. If the patient prefers, the interview can be alone with the physician, providing a comfortable space to address health questions and concerns, thus facilitating their transition to adult medical care.
In the case of chronic diseases, it is advisable to have a joint review with the future family doctor to convey relevant information about the state of the disease and its evolution. This strengthens the patient’s trust in the new professional and facilitates continuity of care for the disease.
Beyond monitoring physical growth, as mentioned, pediatric appointments also play a key role in ensuring that our children are up to date with their vaccination schedule. Awareness of an infant’s own maturation time is another element of great relevance to the wellbeing of their health.
In addition, it should be noted that these appointments provide an opportunity for our family doctor to discuss, through a conversation with parents, the child’s habits and behaviours in terms of feeding, sleeping patterns and developmental milestones (such as rolling over, crawling, walking, talking, etc.).
These appointments also provide a space in which parents can raise any questions or concerns related to the care of their child. We look forward to seeing you at Clínica Gran Alacant, book your appointment by calling 966 695 374 or by making an appointment in our Family Medicine section.