What is a Physical?
Scheduling your child’s physical is the best way to take a proactive approach to their health.
We provide different types of physicals, depending on your child’s age and activities. Physicals give your pediatrician the opportunity to monitor your child’s growth and development over the years and allows you the opportunity to discuss any concerns you may have.
By staying up-to-date with your child’s physicals, you’ll also be able to keep up with their vaccinations during their younger years, and can oversee any problematic health issues as they get older.
School Physicals or Well Visits
During a school physical or well visit, your child’s pediatrician will have an opportunity to examine year-over-year changes and progress. The younger years are more heavily focused on developmental progress and vaccinations, while adolescent years tend to be more focused on psychological and physical changes.
Sports physicals are largely required by athletic leagues and schools. During this exam, the pediatrician will check your child’s vitals, joints, flexibility, and vision. This gives them an opportunity to flag any issues that may cause injury during the season. Sports physicals should be given at least 6 weeks prior to the start of the upcoming sports season, giving the child ample time to correct any issues before the season. While a sports physical and an annual school physical have a lot in common, the sports physical does not include evaluation of the overall health of your child. Therefore, a sports physical should not replace a school physical.
Also commonly referred to as a pre-participation physical, a camp physical ensures that your child can safely participate in activities. A physical may not always be required prior to your child going off to camp, but it’s still a great way to stay on top of their health. Please note that a camp physical should not replace a school physical.
How often should children get a physical?
(less than 1 year old): We see all infants at 2 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months and 1 year. Please refer to our Immunization Schedule for more information.
(1-3 years old): Your toddler needs a physical at 18 months, 2 years and 3 years old. Please refer to our Immunization Schedule for more information.
Preschool Age Children
(4-5 years old): All children need to have their 4/5 year-old vaccines before starting kindergarten. Before starting 1st grade, most schools require the child’s first official physical exam.
School Age Children
(6-11 years old): After starting school, your child only needs a physical every two years, but Pediatrics West recommends yearly physicals for all children.
(12-17 years old): If your teenager is not participating in school sports, they need a physical every two years. If they are participating in school sports, they need a yearly physical. Pediatrics West recommends yearly physicals for all children.
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