Well-care visits are routine examinations that provide the best opportunity for a doctor or healthcare practitioner to observe the progress of your child's physical and mental growth and development. They also offer a chance to: detect problems through screening tests; provide any necessary immunizations; allow you and your child to ask any healthcare questions you might have; and to get to know one another. Whether they are called wellness exams, or checkups, well-care visits are strongly recommended as part of preventive care.
Insured children, adolescents, and young adults ages 0 through 20 in Washington get a free health checkup every year! If you need help finding a clinic near you or have trouble scheduling a visit, call your insurance company. If you need help finding coverage, go to wahealthplanfinder.org or call 1-855-923-4633.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Why should I schedule a well-care visit for my family?
There are many benefits to completing yearly well-care visits:
- The doctor/care provider can get a better picture of your child’s health and development.
- You and your child get one-on-one time with your doctor or care provider to ask questions and get advice about any concerns you might have.
- It’s a chance for your child to bond with their care provider and make that person a trusted presence in their life (and yours!) that you can go to when you need to.
There is evidence that regular well-care visits can help children be ready for and do better in school.
- Is a well-care visit different from a sports physical?
Yes! Usually, a sports physical is a check on a child’s physical health, often with a focus on risks from participating in sports. The well-care visit is meant to give your child’s doctor/healthcare provider a complete view of your child’s entire health. A full physical exam is part of the well-care visit, but also includes questions about mental, emotional, environmental, social, and behavioral health. You can talk about immunizations, any signs of risky behaviors (for example smoking or drinking alcohol), how your child has been sleeping, and other topics. The well-care visit is much more than a physical exam!
- How often should I take my child(ren) in for their well visit?
The following schedule is what is recommended by Bright Futures/the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) in their guidelines:
- 2 to 4 days for newborns discharged less than 48 hours after delivery
- By 1 month
- 2 months
- 4 months
- 6 months
- 9 months
- 12 months (1 year)
- 15 months
- 18 months
- 24 months (2 years)
- 30 months
- Once per year from 3 years old through 20 years old
- What happens at a well-care visit?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)/Bright Futures has developed a short tip sheet for families, so you can get an idea of what to expect at a well-care visit. This tip sheet is available in both English (PDF) and Spanish (PDF). The topics your doctor or care provider will go over are going to grow and change as your child does. For more information, you can go to the Bright Futures Tools and Resources for Families page. You can also reach out to your child’s clinic!