Are Well-Checks Always Necessary? 3 Reasons You Might Opt Out
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children have 13 well-checks from birth to age three, then annual checkups thereafter. Some parents enjoy the reassurance that their children are progressing as expected. Other parents balk at having to attend these seemingly unnecessary visits. While there are many reasons to go to well-check appointments, there's also some rationale for opting out.
- It's cold and flu season
Sick people go to doctors and that makes doctor offices germy places. Bringing your well child to the doctor's office can expose him or her to more germs than necessary. Some parents choose to skip well visits during especially high-risk months — like winter — unless there is a specific issue or concern they want to discuss. Of course, every office is different. Some pediatricians schedule all of their well visits on certain days. Others have separate sick and well waiting rooms so you can keep up with the appointments as recommended.
- You aren't following the traditional vaccinations schedule
Many well-checks are scheduled because of the CDC recommended vaccination schedule, which is fine if you're planning to do all shots as prescribed. So, if you're following a selective or delayed schedule (or not vaccinating at all) your child may not need as many visits. Keep in mind that doctors also check for developmental milestones and adequate growth at well-checks. It's always a good idea to check with your pediatrician to see if there's anything other than vaccinations on the agenda.
- Your doctor says you don't need them
Parents often assume that pediatricians want them to bring in the child for all the recommended well-checks. However, this isn't always the case. Some physicians prefer to limit the child's exposure to the germs and just see the child once a year (or as necessary). If you don't want to participate in the regular well-check schedule, talk to your pediatrician to get their thoughts and recommendations.