Summer is splendid for sunshine and well-child exams

School’s out, but here’s a multiple choice quiz for parents!

Summer is a perfect time for your kids to:

A. Go to the doctor, even when they feel fine.

B. Play at the park.

C. Take swimming lessons.

D. Sign up for the library’s summer reading program.

You probably guessed that every answer is correct, and that the one we really want to focus on is “A”—going to the doctor for a well-child visit.

A lot of families find that their summer schedule is less hectic than it is during the school year. So we encourage you to make the time now to call your children’s primary care provider and book a wellness exam.

If you have a young athlete, also ask about getting a school sports physical so you are all set for fall. Here’s a form the school may need you and your doctor to fill out before your child can participate in athletics.

Primary care: In sickness and in health

You may think of the doctor’s office as a place to take your school-age kids when they’re sick or have a small injury.

We’d also like you to think about the doctor as a place to take your children each year when they’re healthy. These appointments are called well-child visits.  Here’s why those visits are just as important for an earache or bad sore throat.

Do you remember taking your baby to the doctor really often or the first 2-1/2 years? Providers checked if your baby was growing and behaving as expected—reaching “developmental milestones.”

Well-baby exams were so important because they helped providers prevent problems or find them early, when they’re easier to treat. In addition to taking your baby’s measurements and doing a physical exam, the provider:

  • Talked with you about your baby’s sleep, safety, nutrition and activity.
  • Gave the recommended shots to protect against diseases.
  • Answered your questions.
  • Got to know your little ones, their needs and their interests.

Your child’s doctor or nurse practitioner wants to keep up those kinds of exams, conversations and preventive care.

Well-child visits for ages 3 to 21 years

Most 3 year olds are ready to switch to a once-yearly well-child visit, continuing through the teens and into young adulthood.

The idea is for your growing child to feel comfortable with their provider, build a relationship, and develop a lifelong habit of an annual exam for preventive health.

A lot can happen at a wellness visit. Depending on your child’s age, you can expect things like:

  • Vision, hearing and blood pressure screenings
  • Discussion of timely health topics, including growth, behavior and emotions at your child’s stage
  • Complete physical exam.

For more detail, check this info from CareOregon and this parenting article.

Wellness exams: 100 percent free for OHP members

This summer, we hope your kids do play in the park, lose themselves in a few good books and learn to swim. (Want to know about swim lessons? We put a sampling of Yamhill county-area public resources below.)

But please get your family to the doctor’s office for an annual wellness exam, too. They are completely free for Oregon Health Plan members, and are covered by most private insurance plans, too.


Swim lessons

Check your city’s listing for community pools that may offer discounted swim lessons. A limited number of scholarships may be available. Here are some local ideas.

McMinnville Aquatic Center:

Chehalem Aquatic Center:

Carlton Community Pool:

Top 5 Health Articles