A pediatrician manages a child's overall physical and psychological health condition. While most parents consult a pediatrician when the child falls sick, they miss the importance of regular visits to the doctor even if the child is seemingly healthy. There are recommended schedules which prescribe regular visits to the doctor from about a week after the birth of the child. The visits are more frequent up till the age of 6 or 7, after which a monthly visit is usually sufficient. The following is a list of reasons why your child should be taken to a pediatrician every month:
1. Documenting the rate of growth
The pediatrician measures the child's weight and height during every visit and charts them. This is important for comparison with the average rate of growth and pin pointing the problems in normal growth (if any) and the reasons for these problems. For example, if a 4 year old girl is in the 80th percentile for height, it means that 80% of the girls her age are shorter than she is and 20% are taller than she is. The rate of growth is an indicator of a child's general health.
2. Detecting deviations in developmental patterns
There are well-defined physical and emotional developmental patterns for children of all ages. For example, a child starts using signals to communicate by 4 months, or starts talking by the age of 2. A pediatrician can spot deviations from the standard patterns better than parents can. Apart from the measurement of height and weight, sometimes hearing, motor skills and vision tests are also conducted on your visit to the pediatrician to ensure that these basic systems and functions are developing properly.
3. Identifying reasons behind behavioral problems
Behavioral issues in children can be caused by a number of reasons - their inability to correctly express physical discomfort, bonding or attachment issues with the parents or caregivers, interactive problems with peers in school etc. Common behavioral problems are snoring, sleep walking, bed wetting, outbursts of anger, lack of social communication etc. The problems can be prevented from becoming complicated conditions if treated early.
4. Prevention of diseases
The schedule for all the required vaccinations is maintained by the pediatrician. Apart from immunization, regular visits to a pediatrician are important for pointing the beginning symptoms of certain diseases. Nutritional deficiencies, which are very common in children, can be diagnosed and addressed before they lead to health problems. Often parents become extremely apprehensive about the child's health- their queries can be answered and their worries can also be put to rest by these visits.