3-4 YEAR CHECK UP

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DIET

Vitamins are only necessary if your child does not get a balanced diet. Many children, who donít seem to get a balanced diet, actually do get one if you average what they eat over a few days. In other words, they eat meats well one day, and fruits and vegetables well the next. You may still give a vitamin if you wish.

COMMON ILLNESSES & PROBLEMS

                Temper tantrums and behavior problems are a common complaint at this age. There are probably more opinions on this subject than there are grandparents in the world. I will give you some basic pointers, but ultimately, you should listen to all those opinions (mine included) and as parents decide how you want to proceed with child rearing. The pointers:

Most parents start potty training their children at about 2 years of age. There are many methods and which one you use probably doesnít matter much, just stick with one. I do have some basic pointers you should always follow:

SAFETY

        Remember to buy a helmet with the first tricycle. Children have had surprisingly bad head injuries from even falling off a tricycle. Please donít let this message prevent you from buying a tricycle, just buy the helmet also, and be careful. Booster seats are meant to raise your childís hips so that the seatbelt works as a lap belt like it should, instead of a waist belt. If the belt is above the hips, then it could tear into the abdominal organs or aorta with even a mild crash.

NEXT VISIT

We give check ups every year starting at 3 years of age.  The vaccines given at the 4 year check up must be given on or after the 4th birthday, not earlier, and are also known as the school boosters. The vaccines are:

The tuberculosis test (TB, 4 pronged test on the forearm) is no longer required, unless your child lived out of the state before starting school in WV. The DPT includes the Tetanus, and your child will not need another Tetanus for at least 5 years from the 4 year check up DPT, no matter what kind of wound they have. After five years from the last Tetanus shot, you only need a tetanus shot for a wound, then at 10 years from the last one, you need a Tetanus shot anyway. We try to move the check ups to the summer after the 4th one. Having check ups in the summer prevents missed school, allows us to fill out school / sports forms on the spot, and leaves space for the younger kids and sick visits in the winter.

Please remember yearly check ups are necessary, not optional. When a pediatrician does a check up and the parent says absolutely nothing is wrong, we find a significant problem in every 20-50 kids. Good parents always bring their kids when they feel something is wrong. Good pediatricians just find significant things earlier, when they are easier to treat.

 2005 Joe Matusic, MD