Parenting can be a tough gig. And keeping your children healthy is one of the hardest parts. For busy parents with active kids, just getting to the doctor or dentist can feel like a victory. If you’re looking to be more effective — and proactive — about your kids’ health, there are a few simple ways to do just that.
Make well checks a priority
You’re ready to call the doctor when your child spikes a fever or gets injured playing sports, but effective parents know that regular medical checkups, also called “well checks” are an important part of maintaining optimal health.
“Well checks are a key part of prevention,” said Richard Rinehart, CEO of Cornerstone Care. “They can catch issues early, as well as monitor a child’s growth and development. During a well check, a provider can refer a child to a specialist, if needed, for physical or developmental issues.”
Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics’ well-child care visit schedule here.
Choose a great provider
Taking your child in for scheduled medical checkups is great as long as you’re taking him or her to a provider you trust. Rinehart suggests finding a provider who doesn’t just work with your schedule and your insurance coverage; you’ll also want someone you feel comfortable talking to.
“It’s important to be able to ask questions and get the answers you need,” he said.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
Speaking of questions, your pediatrician or family doctor isn’t just a trusted resource when you’re in the office. It’s important that you keep your medical provider in the loop if you have concerns between well visits (and sick visits), too. If your child is exhibiting symptoms or behaviors that worry you, call the doctor. There’s no reason to wait for your next scheduled appointment.
Immunize, immunize, immunize
There’s a reason most American children will never suffer from polio, smallpox, tetanus or yellow fever because modern vaccines have brought several major diseases under control. Keeping up on your child’s scheduled immunizations won’t just protect your child, they will help protect children across the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccines are not only effective, they’re completely safe and have no link to autism.
Don’t forget oral health
With busy schedules and sometimes limited providers, it can be easy to put dental health on the back burner. But your child’s overall health also requires regular dental cleanings and check-ups.
“Oral health is just as important as medical health or mental health,” said Rinehart. “It’s what makes up the entire being. Oral health has been linked to issues like heart disease and diabetes, so it’s important that parents are educated about the importance of dental exams.”
Talk about it at home
Your child’s health is a critical topic — one that shouldn’t only be addressed at the pediatrician’s office. Strive to make health and wellness a focal point of family conversations and activities. Cook healthy meals together, keep family activities active and help your kids make smart decisions about what they eat, drink and how they spend their time.
Don’t let geography limit you
If you’re worried about finding a convenient provider you can trust, a little research could go a long way. According to Rinehart, access to quality care is a big concern in Pennsylvania.
“Many areas are underserved, which means there are not enough quality providers to serve the needs of the community,” he said. “Cornerstone Care provides complete health services to many underserved areas, making it possible for them to get the care they need.”
Community members – adults and children alike – are always welcome at the Community Health Center of Washington. Their newly remodeled Pediatric Center and the new Family Practice Center are both located at 400 Jefferson Avenue (beside The Medicine Shoppe Pharmacy), and the Family Practice center specializes in Family Planning Services and includes the Healthy Women clinic. Find out more about all the services available by calling 724-228-1089.
This article is brought to you by Cornerstone Care.
A journalism graduate from Brigham Young University, Kristen Price has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.