Avera Medical Minute: The importance of annual check-ups for children

Published: Jun. 15, 2023 at 5:34 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - In this week’s Avera Medical Minute, Pediatrician Dr. Daniel Boadwine discussed the importance of annual checkups for kids and what doctors are looking out for.

“Most of the time, it depends on the age of the kid,” Boadwine explained. “In the younger toddler ages, we are really focusing on development and they’re up to date with their vaccinations before starting school. But even as they get into the older toddler years and the pre-adolescent and teenage years, there’s good preventative guidance that we can give to kids as well as other immunizations as they get older. Then we can make sure that their growth is appropriate and that they’re doing well in school and just mentally that they are succeeding the way they should be at that age.”

Boadwine was asked about vaccinations and if there is a general rule of thumb on when to get your child vaccinated.

“Yeah, there really is. So we typically just follow the CDC’s recommendations. The nice part about that is you can just Google the CDC vaccination schedule and it will come up with a list that provides the recommended age for each child to receive a vaccine,” Boadwine said. “Sometimes kids may be doing fine developmentally, but sometimes we’ll catch kids who aren’t growing at the right speed or maybe we need to start talking about more activity and work on food choices with families if kids are struggling with obesity.

“Another one that really commonly comes up is snoring or sleep quality and patterns for kids. Performance in school, attentiveness. those are things that they might be going all right and we might have no problems that are noticed, but if we can get the kids in and ask the right questions each year as more of a screening practice, then maybe we can catch some of those kids that might be struggling.”

When it comes to having discussions on mental health during this annual checkup, Boadwine encouraged it.

“It’s very important. I always begin talking with kids really heavily about these topics of depression and anxiety and just how they feel their mood is most days,” Boadwine said. “Starting at 10 or 11 years old and then every year beyond that. Using those opportunities as screening appointments, we can really make sure we aren’t missing kids who are struggling with depression or struggling with anxiety or with bullying at school or whatever it may be.”

For more information go to Avera.org/MedicalMinute