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Well Child Visit at 3 Years


A well child visit is when your child sees a healthcare provider to prevent health problems. It is a different type of visit than when your child sees a healthcare provider because he is sick. Well child visits are used to track your child's growth and development. It is also a time for you to ask questions and to get information on how to keep your child safe. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them. Your child should have regular well child visits from birth to 17 years.


Where to take your child for well child visits:

It is best to find a medical home for your child. A medical home is a doctor's office or clinic where your child sees the same healthcare providers every time. A medical home will also keep your child's health records. The healthcare providers will get to know your child and your family so they can give him the best care. They will also make sure he receives vaccines on the recommended immunization schedule to protect him from diseases.

What happens during a well child visit at 3 years:

Your child's healthcare provider may do the following:

  • Chart your child's weight and height
  • Check your child's vision, hearing, and blood pressure
  • Check your child's teeth or tell you to take him to a dentist, and ask about your child's tooth care routine
  • Ask what your child eats and how well he is eating
  • Ask how often your child urinates or has bowel movements, and if he is using a potty
  • Look for growth delays or developmental conditions, such as autism
  • Check your child's speech
  • Ask how often you read to your child, and remind you to read text your child sees outside the home, such as street signs
  • Talk to you about helping your child get ready to start preschool by learning the alphabet, colors, and numbers
  • Talk to you about your child's physical activity, and time limits of less than 2 hours a day for TV, computers, or video games
  • Talk to you about making sure your child wears sunscreen to prevent skin cancer
  • Ask how well your child is sleeping at night and during naps
  • Review home safety and childproofing, and water safety, such as not leaving your child alone in the tub and not allowing him to swim alone
  • Make sure you are using a child safety seat in every car, and that it is installed properly in the back seat
  • Give him any catch-up doses of previous vaccines

Milestones of development your child may reach by 3 years:

Each child develops at his own pace. Your child might have already reached the following milestones, or he may reach them later:

  • Consistently use his right or left hand to draw or pick up objects
  • Use a potty, and stop using diapers or only need them at night
  • Speak in short sentences of about 3 words that are easily understood
  • Copy simple shapes
  • Count up to 3 items
  • Ride a tricycle and use one foot and then the other to climb stairs
  • Take turns when he plays with others, and play make believe
  • Sleep about 11 to 13 hours each night
  • Balance or hop on 1 foot for a short period
  • Put objects into holes
  • Have about 20 teeth

What you need to know about your child's next well child visit:

Your child's healthcare provider will tell you when to bring him in again. The next well child visit is usually at 4 years. Contact your child's healthcare provider if you have questions or concerns about his health or care before the next visit. Your child may get the following vaccines at his next visit: DTaP, polio, flu, MMR, and chickenpox. He may need catch-up doses of the hepatitis B, hepatitis A, HiB, or pneumococcal vaccine. Remember to take your child in for a yearly flu vaccine.

Changes that may happen before the next well child visit:

  • Ask your healthcare provider about new foods you can offer to your child. Do not give your child foods that can cause choking. Examples include hotdogs, raw vegetables, nuts, and whole grapes. Children younger than 4 years should not eat these foods.
  • Your child may sleep less, including not taking an afternoon nap. He may start having nightmares or waking up during the night.
  • Your child's healthcare provider may change your child's tooth care routine or type of toothpaste.
  • You may also need to change the kind of car seat your child uses. Your child may be ready to move to a booster seat, depending on his height and weight. Ask your child's healthcare provider for more information on booster seats.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.