Watching your baby grow and development is exciting! They learn to crawl, walk and talk and before you know it, they're in school. These are big milestones and there is a lot to know, so it's important to keep up with doctor visits and shots.
Babies and Children
Care for Babies and Children
Babies and Children (Newborn - 10 years old)
As a parent or guardian your child’s safety is one of your top priorities.
Baby 0 – 12 months old:
It is important to give your baby a safe place to sleep, so make sure that no pillows, soft bedding or comforters are used where they sleep. Babies should be placed on their back in a crib with a firm mattress. In the car, put your baby in a rear-facing car seat in the back of the car, at least until age two.
Toddlers (1-2 years) and Children (3-10 years):
As children grow it is important to look at all the ways to keep them safe and ensure the safeguards set in place are right for their age. Select a link below to learn more about safety:
Well visits occur at different times during a child’s life and begin as early as three days old. Regular well-visits with a primary care doctor is an important way to serve the growing needs of your child and ensure the best health throughout their lives.
During a well-visit the doctor should give you advice about your child’s health, daily care, sleep positions, feeding and nutrition, development and behavior, and your child’s physical activities as well. During the exam, your child may receive immunizations (also known as vaccinations, vaccines or shots) and screenings, depending on his or her health and what your doctor suggests.. If your child has a disability or delay, your doctor may refer your child to an early intervention program (EIP) for further care and treatment.
Newborn – 12 months old:
Your baby’s first well-visit should be within three to five days of birth. During this visit the doctor will take your baby’s measurements, perform required screenings, and he/she may give your baby some important vaccines.
Your baby should also receive well-visits at one, two, four and six months of age. Since your baby is older, there are a few important screenings that the doctor will complete during these well-visits. These screenings are critical to your child’s growth and development. The doctor will also do a physical check-up, provide guidance on caring for your baby and discuss any concerns you may have about your child’s health.
Select a link below for more baby care topics:
- Ages and stages of childhood development
- Bathing and skin care
- Crying and colic
- Diapers and clothing
- Feeding and nutrition
Toddler (1 – 2 years old):
At this stage your child is transitioning from being an infant to a toddler and will need to have a well-visit with their primary care doctor at 12 months (1-year-old), 15, 18, 24 months (2-years-old) and 30 months old (2½ years old). The doctor will check their physical and behavioral health as well as other important skills, and continue to monitor their measurements, development and nutritional needs. Your child will also receive different types of screenings and vaccines that will give them a foundation for a healthy life as they get older and prepare to start school.
Select a link below for more toddler health care topics:
- Toddler growth and development
- Toddler fitness
- Toddler nutrition
- Toddler toilet training
- Growing healthy
Children (3 – 10 years old)
Your child should have a well-visit with their primary care doctor once every year starting at the age of 3. During these years your child may go from being a preschooler to grade-schooler in no time, and then other areas of their health become important as they may begin to interact with other children outside the home. The doctor will assess their social and cognitive thinking skills and continue to monitor their measurements for growth and development as well as their physical health and nutritional needs. There may be some additional vaccines that are required for your school age child, which will be given by the doctor during their annual well-visit.
Select a link below for information on childhood healthcare topics:
- Raising healthy children
- Your child’s nutrition
- Engaging parents in school health
- Diseases and conditions
There are a number of important screenings and tests that your child needs to ensure they are growing and developing well. During the first 1,000 days of your child’s life, hearing, lead, and developmental screenings are among the most critical.
Learn more about these screenings.
Find out more about these and other essential screenings and tests for your child. Getting them at the right time will put your child on the path to good health and development.
- Blood pressure measurement: Ask your child’s doctor to check their blood pressure from age 3 during their well-child visit. Learn more about screening and high blood pressure treatment in children.
- Cholesterol screening: The first cholesterol test for a child who falls within a certain risk category should be after 2 years old, but no later than 10 years old. Learn more about cholesterol.
- Critical congenital heart defect screening: All newborns should be screened for heart problems.
- Dental screening: Your child needs a dental checkup at six months old. The dentist may apply a fluoride varnish when teeth first appear. Oral fluoride supplementation may start after six months old, as your child’s doctor advises. Your child will need a dental check-up at 12 months old (1-year-old) and should also have dental checkups twice a year, starting at 2 years old. Select a link below to learn more about oral health:
- Developmental screening: It is important to monitor your child’s growth and development by looking at how they play, speak, learn, and move each day. A developmental screening by your child’s primary care doctor or another health care professional will show if your child is on track for meeting developmental milestones. If your child has a disability or delay, your doctor may refer your child to an early intervention program (EIP) for additional care and treatment. Learn more about developmental screening and milestones.
- Newborn – 12 months old: A standard developmental screening should be done during your baby’s 9-month well-visit.
- Toddler 1 – 2 years old: A standard developmental screening should be done during your child’s 18-month well visit and again during their 24-month well-visit. It may also be done when your child is between 24-months and 30-months old. An Autism spectrum disorder screening should also be done at 18-months and 24-months old.
- Children (3 – 10 years old): The pediatrician will continue to observe your child’s development at every well-visit.
- Hearing screening: It is recommended that your child’s hearing be checked as soon as possible after they are born. Ensuring your child’s hearing is screened as recommended can prevent speech and learning problems as they grow. Learn more about hearing screening.
- Newborn – 12 months old: Your baby will receive a hearing screening within 24 hours after birth, before they are one-month-old and at every well visit.
- Toddler 1 – 2 years old: Your toddler will receive a hearing screening at every well visit.
- Children (3 – 10 years old): Your child will receive a hearing screening at every well visit.
- Hemoglobin/hematocrit (Hgb/Hct): At 12 months old your child will receive a blood test to determine if he/she is iron-deficient or suffers from anemia. Your child’s primary care doctor will access your child’s risk for anemia during every well-child visit that follows and take appropriate action if necessary.
- Lead screening: It is important to find out if your child has been exposed to lead. If your child is exposed to lead, it can cause learning, hearing, and growth and development problems. It can also affect their behavior and ability to pay attention. You can take steps to prevent lead poisoning before it affects your child’s health. Learn more about lead screening.
- Newborn – 12 months old: Your baby can be tested for lead exposure as early as 9-months old.
- Toddler ( 1 – 2 years old): A lead screening is recommended during your child's 12 month well visit. Another screening is also recommended during thier 18 and 24 months well visit.
- Children (3 – 10 years old): Your child should be screened for lead poisoning at every well visit by their pediatrician.
- Vision screening: All newborns should have their eyes checked for infections and other diseases of the eye. Eye health and vision should be checked at every well visit by 6 months of age. By the age of 5 each eye (left and right eye) will be checked separately at every annual well visit. Learn more about vision health and eye screening for children.
- Weight assessment and childhood obesity screening: Length and head circumference measurements are done at every well visit since your child is a newborn. At 6 years old the doctor will begin to assess your child’s weight closer by checking their Body Mass Index, or BMI. The BMI is an important tool used to determine whether your child has a normal weight for their age or might be over-weight or suffering from childhood obesity. Your child’s primary care doctor will calculate your child’s BMI percentile every year and should discuss it with you at each well visit. Learn more about BMI for children and tips for helping your child maintain a healthy body weight.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend children be vaccinated, or receive certain shots, at various stages in their life to prevent infectious diseases and other illnesses. Learn more about the recommended vaccines (shots) for children using the links below:
The Preventive Health Guidelines will help you learn more about the screenings, tests and shots that you and your family need. Information in our guidelines comes from medical expert organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the US Department of Health and Human Services, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Talk with your doctor to make sure your family’s medical checkups and shots are up to date.
To find out if a shot, test or screening is covered under your health plan, you can check your benefits online by signing in to your account or calling Customer Service at the phone number on the back of your member ID card.