Medical Screening Tests for Children 2-12
Children depend on adults for good health care. The American Academy of Pediatrics has guidelines for regular physical exams, screening tests, and vital discussions with the parent or guardian of the young child. The guidelines do not replace a doctor or nurse practitioner, but they help remind parents, guardians, and health-care providers about routine needs.
For specific concerns discuss your child’s situation and family tendencies with health-care providers so they can take individual needs into account when planning for tests. Use this list as a reminder during every health-care visit.
Important Exams by a Health-Care Professional
- Height and weight: Once a year
- Blood pressure checks: Once a year after age 3
- Development assessment and general physical, including scoliosis screening: Once a year
- Teeth and gums: Dentists every year after age 3
- Hearing and eye (vision): Ages 3, 4, 6, 10, 11
Laboratory Screening Tests
A screening test finds common problems before they are obvious symptoms of illness, so treatment can be more helpful. Some screening tests for children are done because a particular disease is inherited and/or there is a family history of a problem. If screening tests are needed because of special circumstances such as exposure to illness, environmental risks, and/or family health tendencies, suggestions include the following items:
- Testing for genetic diseases (e.g., Tay Sach’s or sickle cell anemia): preferably at birth, but later if results are not known.
- TB skin test: yearly after 24 months.
- Lead in the blood: 9, 12, and 24 months.
- Blood lipids (e.g., cholesterol): yearly after 24 months.
Ask the nurse or doctor to review immunizations each visit; keep a record of immunizations given each child.
Discuss any concerns you have about your child, and make notes about the advice you receive.
Make sure you understand about prescribed medications and treatments. For more information, see Extension flyer M0845, "Talk About Medicine."
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