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Well Child Visit at 4 Years
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
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 4 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 brushing and flossing routine
- Ask what your child is eating and how well he is eating
- Ask how much sleep your child gets each night and how well he is sleeping
- Look for growth delays or developmental conditions, such as autism
- Talk to you about helping your child get ready to start preschool by learning the alphabet, colors, and numbers
- 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 your child's physical activity, and time limits of less than 2 hours a day for TV, computers, or video games
- Check your child's speech
- Talk to you about making sure your child wears sunscreen to prevent skin cancer
- 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 seat belts and a child safety seat or booster seat in every car, and that it is installed properly in the back seat
- Give him any vaccines he needs (DTaP, polio, MMR, and chickenpox), and any catch-up doses of previous vaccines
Milestones of development your child may reach by 4 years:
Each child develops at his own pace. Your child might have already reached the following milestones, or he may reach them later:
- Speak clearly and be understood easily
- Know his first and last name and gender, identify some colors and numbers, and count to 4
- Know up to 1,000 words
- Tell a story or tell someone about an event, and use the past tense
- Hop on one foot, or catch a bounced ball
- Enjoy playing with other children
- Dress and undress himself
- Control his bladder and bowels, with occasional accidents
- Test boundaries, such as refusing to do something he is told to do
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 5 to 6 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, 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. He may not be ready to eat foods that can cause choking until he is older. Examples include hotdogs, raw vegetables, nuts, and whole grapes. Children younger than 4 years should not eat these foods.
- Your child's healthcare provider may work with you to help your child get ready to start school. He may help you create meal, play, and bedtime schedules. You may need to make sure your child can go to the bathroom on his own and wash his own hands.
- Your child's healthcare provider may talk to you about bedwetting. Bedwetting may happen up to the age of 4 years in girls and 5 years in boys. Talk to your child's healthcare provider if you have any concerns about this.
- Your child will continue to learn words and will begin to start writing some words.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
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