Have you ever wondered why there are more requirements to prepare a 16-year-old to drive a car than to prepare for a child?
As a driver, you have to take a class, practice under a qualified driver and take a test before even getting behind the wheel. Once licensed, you must have a car that meets insurance requirements before you can legally drive. Lastly, when the car acts up, you have a manual, a guide to help you identify and address problems.
Wouldn’t it be nice if raising children were the same way?
After putting some thought into it, there are tools available to provide education, parent support, insurance and a “manual” to monitor children’s development.
Expectant parents can participate in either medical or community sponsored classes such as childbirth preparation, baby care, infant CPR and first aid classes.
In looking at local hospitals, Marshall, Barton, Sutter, Kaiser, UC Davis and Mercy all provide some type of parent support classes both before and after delivery.
The best way to find parent support is to find a regular doctor or dentist for your child. Developing a relationship with a doctor that knows your child and understands you as a parent will encourage you to ask questions about your child’s development.
Having insurance is the key to having a regular doctor. Beginning Oct. 1, 2013 families can apply for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Under ACA, families will have access to a variety of preventive services referred to as well child visits that will help keep your child healthy.
Scheduling regular well child visits is similar to the maintenance schedule for your car. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has a schedule of well child visits that are essential to monitoring and maintaining a child’s health.
The schedule is more frequent for newborns and become further apart as the child grows: infants (3 to 5 days, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months), toddlers (15 months, 18 months, 24 months, 30 months) and preschoolers (3 years, 4 years) and once every year thereafter for an annual health visit that includes a physical exam as well as a developmental, behavioral and learning assessment.
Well child visits include:
2. Developmental assessments including behavior and autism screenings
3. Vision and hearing screenings
4. Health education
5. Oral health (dental) assessment
Although an oral health assessment can be done by your pediatrician, the AAP recommends that children see the dentist by their first tooth or first birthday.
Visiting the dentist every year will help your child become comfortable with the dentist and provide an opportunity for preventive services such as fluoride and sealants.
In partnership with the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency, First 5 El Dorado supports the Children’s Health Initiative.
Through this initiative, families with young children are assisted in finding medical insurance, connecting with a doctor or dentist and getting on schedule with well child visits.
For more information about health care services contact the Children’s Health Initiative at 800-388-8690 or 530-621-6142.