From birth through toddlerhood, even the healthiest babies will have plenty of face time with their doctor. After all, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends a checkup schedule with 10 visits in those first 24 months (in addition to care at birth). But an updated schedule, released today, outlines changes that will affect exactly what your baby is screened for at these well-child visits.
This updated schedule, known as the periodicity schedule , summarizes new and revised recommendations approved by the AAP since March 2014. They will be published as the Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care in the January 2016 issue of Pediatrics.
So what do expectant parents and parents of babies and toddlers need to know about? Here are three changes:
To help reduce dental cavities, the top chronic disease affecting young children, a recommendation has been added for fluoride varnish applications from 6 months through 5 years.
A risk assessment is added at 15 and 30 months for hematocrit or hemoglobin screening to help detect anemia, an iron deficiency.
A screening for critical congenital heart disease using pulse oximetry has been added and should be performed in the hospital before newborn discharge.
Bottom line: You’re going to be visiting and relying on your pediatrician for information on baby’s health often, so you want a positive relationship and advice you can trust. Here’s how to choose a good pediatrician — and on the flip side, five signs you should breakup with yours.