By David Rhyne, MD, Pediatrician, Brenner Children’s Hospital Pediatrics – Westgate

If your family is like many Triad families, you’ve probably started your back-to-school prep. You probably have a checklist of all the things you’ll need—items like pens, notebooks, clothes and sports equipment. Just don’t forget to add one more thing to that list: a Well Child visit.

A Well Child visit can be scheduled any time of year. And, if you have children under the age of 5, you probably bring them in for regularly scheduled visits to monitor growth and development, and to update vaccinations. After that, it’s advised that you bring your child in for a physical at least once a year—and summer is a great time to do it. Not only is this a season when the pediatrician’s office is less likely to be packed with sick patients, it’s also the time of year when you need to take care of school requirements, such sports physicals and mandatory vaccines.

Stay on Schedule

Certain vaccinations are required for children attending school in North Carolina school systems. Kids entering kindergarten should be up to date on the following vaccinations: DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis), polio, MMR (measles, mumps and rubella), chicken pox, Haemophilus influenza type b, hepatitis B and pneumococcal. The Tdap booster is recommended between the ages of 10 and 11 years, and is now required for 7th grade.

A new prerequisite this year is the meningitis vaccine, which is also required for children entering 7th grade. A child must be at least 11 years old to receive this particular vaccine.

Most colleges and universities have vaccination requirements as well. If your child is heading off to college this fall, check with the school to see what’s needed.

More Than Just Vaccines

Of course, there’s so much more to a Well Child visit than just a few shots and a doctor’s signature. That may have been the case when we were growing up, but today’s children have the benefit of comprehensive physical exams that monitor their development and overall health, while providing parents with guidance and preventive measures to follow. At your child’s checkup, you can expect:

  • A full physical
  • Developmental screenings
  • An oral health review
  • A mental health review
  • Hearing and vision screenings
  • Nutritional advice
  • Safety advice
  • Information on injury and illness prevention
  • Discussion of any concerns or new symptoms
  • Recommended vaccinations and vaccination boosters

All tests and information given are relevant to your child’s age. They also are relevant to risk factors your child may have based on personal and family health history.

As you can see, a Well Child visit covers a lot of important aspects of your child’s health. Not only does the pediatrician check to make sure your child is growing and developing well, he or she also helps ensure your child is on the right track with disease and injury prevention, and living a healthy lifestyle.

Brenner Children’s Hospital Pediatrics – Westgate is part of Wake Forest Baptist Health and welcomes new patients. To make a Well Child appointment with Dr. Rhyne or one of his colleagues, call 336-716-WAKE or 336-713-0024. Or visit

Sponsored by Brenner Children’s Hospital