During these doctor's visits, your physician will conduct a number of evaluations, such as measurement of height, weight, and blood pressure, a check of vital functions, a vision and hearing screening, and a complete physical examination. The doctor will ensure that your youngster's immunizations are up to date, and ask about your child's diet, exercise habits, and sleep patterns. He or she can also refer you to other health professionals: For example, children should receive regular dental checkups beginning at age three; if a pediatrician detects eye problems during routine screening, he or she may refer your child to an ophthalmologist for further evaluation and care.
Your pediatrician is interested not only in your child's physical health, but also in his or her mental and emotional well-being. It is appropriate to discuss such concerns as your youngster's school experiences, relationships with peers, family difficulties, and daily stresses.
During these middle years, also encourage your child to adopt good personal hygiene habits: bathing regularly; routinely washing hands before eating and after going to the bathroom, as a way of preventing the spread of infectious diseases; brushing teeth at least twice a day, and flossing once.
Through these preventive measures you can reduce your child's risk of illness and injury—and keep down your medical expenses in the process.