Urgent Care for Pediatric Exams

pediatric exams
Ideally, you shouldn’t wait until your child is sick to take him to a doctor. Regular pediatric exams are a great way to make sure your child is in good health and developing properly.

A proper pediatric exam is about more than just a physical exam. It should also include a pediatric history, so your doctor can keep track of everything that’s changing in your child’s life.

Our Examination Approach

Children can get scared and uncomfortable during an exam, so at our urgent care Rockville, MD clinic, we put emphasis on helping your child feel comfortable. We don’t rush through the exam and we try to gain your child’s trust as we move through the appointment. This is especially important during the toddler years, when children understand enough to be scared but not enough that you can explain the process clearly.

General Examination

We start all pediatric exams by taking measurements and recording your child’s vital signs, including his blood pressure, temperature, weight, respiratory rate and pulse rate. Your child’s height will also be measured and then compared with standard charts to see if your child is growing at the expected rate.

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With young children who can’t express how they’re feeling, it’s also important to take note of posture, appearance and degree of activity. These things can signal how well a child feels and point out abnormalities or issues your doctor might need to address.

At this point, the doctor will also ask you a number of questions related to how your child is eating, sleeping and behaving at home. This could send signals of overall health, but it can also indicate specific issues. For example, a child who seems to have no energy or refuses to eat might be anemic, feeling nauseous or suffering from other gastrointestinal issues.

Other things our doctors will check for:

  • Color and condition of the skin (to help rule out dehydration)
  • The health of the lymph nodes (swelling could indicate an underlying infection)
  • The health of the head and face, including symmetry and tenderness of the scalp
  • Visual acuity, reaction to light, visual fields and muscular control
  • Any discharge coming from the nose, as well as sinus pressure

Neurological Exam

Neurological examinations are an essential part of a pediatric exam. Because of this, your doctor will spend some time checking visual, olfactory and auditory development. For example, your doctor will look at the ability to understand and communicate, identify odors, eye movement and speech.

He will also look at the motor system, including muscle reaction and tone, involuntary movement and reflexes. These are also controlled by the brain, so your doctor will want to make sure things are developing as they should.

The exam is a good time to discuss any concerns you might have about your child’s development. For example, if you notice your three-year old has trouble understanding basic commands or concepts (small vs. big, cold vs. hot), this could be a sign of delayed development, which is something you should discuss with your doctor.

You should mention if your child has trouble forming words, following simple instructions or does not use hand gestures to point or to indicate emotions. These could be signs of cognitive delays and might require further testing or a referral to a specialist.

Remember that a pediatric exam is not only about the physical health of your child but his overall well-being, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and discuss concerns with your doctor.