10 November 2022
The Benefits of Well-Child Assessments
Our paediatric department in Gibraltar provides a child friendly environment offering your child regular paediatrician appointments.
Our team is here to help your family on a range of issues including acute illness, nutrition, neonatal care, growth and development, as well as specific problems.
One of the key services we offer are well-child assessments, also known as well-child health checks or screening, which we recommend from birth, up to the age of 14.
More assessments are required in the younger years when children are developing rapidly, with just a few in later childhood, to ensure they are developing appropriately.
There are a number of benefits to making these visits a priority:
Your child shouldn’t just see their paediatrician when they are unwell. Well-child visits are a great opportunity to focus on your child’s wellbeing and discuss how to prevent problems and keep your child healthy.
Each visit includes a complete physical examination. During this check-up, our paediatrician will check the child’s growth and development to find or prevent problems. Your child can also receive their scheduled immunisations at the same time, to prevent illness.
It’s also the place for you to ask your child’s paediatrician about nutrition, safety in the home and at school and clear up any doubts you may have about caring for your child.
Tracking growth and development
Our paediatrician will pay special attention to how your child is growing compared to normal developmental milestones.
The child’s height, weight, and head circumference are recorded on a growth chart. This chart remains part of the child’s medical record.
Talking about your child’s growth is a good place to begin a discussion about your child’s general health. We will talk about the body mass index (BMI) curve, which is the most important tool for identifying and preventing obesity.
We will record your child’s height, weight, and other essential information.
Hearing, vision, and other screening tests will also be a part of some visits.
It is useful for parents to see how much their child has grown in the time since their last visit and talk about their child’s development and any concerns they may have. At this time, you can also ask questions and share worries about hitting milestones, social behaviours and learning.
Parents are often worried about their children and there is so much information out there about health, wellness and development, that it can be hard to see the wood for the trees. Well-child visits are as much for you, the parent, as for your child and you shouldn’t be worried about sharing your concerns.
Make a list of topics you want to talk about with our paediatrician, such as: development, behaviour, sleep, eating or getting along with other family members. With many years of experience, our Paediatrician will be able to answer your questions and offer you peace of mind and practical advice on making sure your child is happy and healthy.
At your Well-child visits, you will receive information on topics such as:
- Childhood diseases
- What to expect as your child grows.
Our paediatrician will also talk about other wellness topics such as family relationship issues, school, and access to community services.
When to book a well-child visit
You will normally have a visit with the health visitor or midwife shortly after your baby is born for them to check that everything is OK.
After that, we recommend coming to see a paediatrician at the following ages as well as if you have any specific worries, or if your child has a specific health issue which needs monitoring and management.
At the age of:
- 1 month
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 12 months
- 15 months
- 18 months
- 2 years
- 2.5 years
- 3 years
Going forward, we recommend a visit every year until your child reaches 14 years old, to ensure that everything is fine. This will also give them a safe and positive place to share any concerns they may have and develop a good long-term relationship with their paediatrician.
One of the common concerns for parents with children under 1 year old is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. During the first year’s Well-child checks, the following advice and information is provided for parents at every baby check
- Babies should sleep in a flat position, feet to the bottom of the cot, with the baby on their back, not on their front or side.
- Do not add too many layers on top of the baby (blankets/sheets etc.), using a baby sleep sac/bag is best.
- Do not have toys or spare blankets in the cot.
- Do not put baby in bed with parents.
- Do not breastfeed in bed.
- Do not allow smokers to hold the baby.
- Do not fall asleep whilst holding the baby.
To find out more information about our paediatrics service in Gibraltar please check out the main page on our website.
Alternatively, please contact us to book in for a baby check or well-child check with our paediatrician, or make an appointment to discuss any other concerns you may have regarding your baby or child.