During pediatric controls a general follow-up of the child is performed delivering important guidelines to the parents for the child’s good development.
Medical Advisors Practitioner at Coomeva Private Healthcare, Pediatrician
Jaime Céspedes Londoño, Pediatrician Martha Beltrán
Even though there is no book teaching us to take care of our children and they themselves are not born with an instructions manual under their arm, the role the mother plays cannot be left to her intuition or common sense alone.
One of the issues that parents are most interested in, especially beginner parents, has to do with the frequency with which they must consult with the doctor for their children. They also want to understand what the main revisions are about, according to the different growth phases of their children. Our main advice is not to change pediatrician constantly because the doctor that has known the child since a very early age knows each detail of his clinical history and the indicators with which to perform the follow-up; a trustworthy relation evolves between the doctor, the child and the family.
When to make an appointment?
According to Colombia’s Ministry of Health guidelines, medical appointments must be constant until the child turns 11. From 12 years of age onward, routine medical check-ups must be scheduled with the general surgeon or family doctor. In the case of adolescents, accompaniment focuses on his growth process and development and, according to findings, pathologies or risk factors these consultations can extend over into his adulthood, but with a periodicity of 12 to 18 months.
Along this line of thinking, Pediatrician and Director of the Pediatric Hospital of the Cardioinfantil Foundation Jaime Céspedes confirms that, with the exception of a special situation, controls can be held every six or twelve months until the child is 5 years of age. On her part, Pediatrician Martha Beltrán recommends that six-month-old babies should consult every month for timely detection of any problem and for disease prevention.
Routine controls include weight and height measurements to insure that the physical and brain growth are the expected ones as well as revision of the vaccines and exchange of experiences between the specialist and the parents.
Keep in mind that as parents, one must not wait for the child to become ill in order to visit the doctor. This is an opportunity to clear doubts about the wellbeing of the minor without any type of inhibitions or fears. Frequently asked questions by the pediatrician can be of this nature: Can the baby lift his head when he is placed head down? Does he calm down at least for a moment when he hears you or when you lift him up in your arms? Does he sleep a bit more at some time of day or night? Are its vigil time-periods longer in time? Does he follow you with his eyes and does he look at attentively at your eyes and face when you are close up? Does he react to your voice or other sounds, and other such? In turn, parents can clear doubts such as, why does he regurgitate after eating? How do I prepare his bottle? What is the best way to cover him up? How frequently must one weigh and measure him? When talking about such controls it is best to organize a calendar, prepare a questionnaire and be attentive to the signals that do not correspond to the well being of the child in order to give timely warning signs and to avoid setbacks.
The most important revisions:
During the first 5 years of the child’s life it is key to follow-up on:
- Respiratory diseases such as acute respiratory infection, acute otitis media, sinusitis and asthma that might require an appointment with a pulmonologist.
- Pathologies of the skin, such as dermatitis or allergies to insects or allergens that are normally remitted to a dermatological consultation.
- Gastrointestinal disease, such as acute diarrhea and constipation that according to its severity may require a visit to the gastroenterologist
- Deformity of the lower limbs such as hip dysplasia, flat feet and different torsions of the legs that require assessment by an orthopedist.
- Evaluation of vision and audition that include a revision by the pediatrician and, on occasions, requires a diagnosis from an otorino.
10 to 15 days after birth of the baby is the time for the first visit to the pediatrician according to the United States Academy of Pediatrics.
Regular visits create close relations and trustworthy ones between the pediatrician, the parents and the child. Joint work helps in the development of physical, mental and social health of the minor.
Follow-up by stages
- From 0 to 1 year of age: Revision of his growth and measurements of the child where special attention is paid to his physical, cognitive and social development as well as his language skills. A nutritional, visual and auditive evaluation is also important.
- From 1 to 3 years: Follow-up of growth and development. There is evaluation of the nutritional state, eating habits and visual and auditive health. The child must attend an odontological appointment and must get dewormed. It is key to check on his mental and sexual health.
- From 3 to 6 years: In addition to the normal check-ups the specialist talks with the parents about his performance at school and begins an evaluation of his communicative skills. There is follow-up of the guideline for his upbringing and self-care practices.