Well-Child Checkup (Child)

Your child just had a routine checkup to check how well they are growing and developing. During the checkup, the healthcare provider likely did the following:

  • Weighed your child and measured your child’s height

  • Gave your child a complete physical exam

  • Assessed certain skills in your child (including language and other cognitive abilities, movement, or behavior)

  • Asked you questions about how well your child is sleeping or eating

  • Asked you questions about your child’s bowel and urinary habits

  • Asked you questions about your child’s mental health and behaviors

  • Gave your child one or more shots (vaccines) to protect against specific illnesses

  • Talked with you about ways to keep your child healthy and safe

Based on your child’s exam today, there are no signs of problems. Your child may return to their normal activities and diet.

Home care

Watch for any new or unusual symptoms as advised by your child’s healthcare provider.

Follow-up care

Follow up with your child’s healthcare provider as directed. Be sure you know the date of your child’s next routine checkup. Also, start a list of questions for the next visit with the provider. Bring the list with you to the next visit.

When to seek medical advice

Call the provider right away if your child has any of these symptoms:

  • Fever (see Fever and children below)

  • Won't eat or is not eating well

  • Unusual weight gain or weight loss

  • New or unusual rash

  • Fast breathing or trouble breathing

  • Ear pain, stomach pain, or sore throat with painful swallowing

  • Pain with urination or smelly urine

  • Ongoing diarrhea or constipation

  • Ongoing vomiting or inability to keep down fluids

  • Unusual fussiness or crying that won’t stop

  • Unusual drowsiness or slowed body movements

  • Other physical or behavioral symptoms that concern you 

Fever and children

Use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Don’t use a mercury thermometer. There are different kinds and uses of digital thermometers. They include:

  • Rectal. For children younger than 3 years, a rectal temperature is the most accurate.

  • Forehead (temporal). This works for children age 3 months and older. If a child under 3 months old has signs of illness, this can be used for a first pass. The provider may want to confirm with a rectal temperature.

  • Ear (tympanic). Ear temperatures are accurate after 6 months of age, but not before.

  • Armpit (axillary). This is the least reliable but may be used for a first pass to check a child of any age with signs of illness. The provider may want to confirm with a rectal temperature.

  • Mouth (oral). Don’t use a thermometer in your child’s mouth until they are at least 4 years old.

Use the rectal thermometer with care. Follow the product maker’s directions for correct use. Insert it gently. Label it and make sure it’s not used in the mouth. It may pass on germs from the stool. If you don’t feel OK using a rectal thermometer, ask the healthcare provider what type to use instead. When you talk with any healthcare provider about your child’s fever, tell them which type you used.

Below are guidelines to know if your young child has a fever. Your child’s healthcare provider may give you different numbers for your child. Follow your provider’s specific instructions.

Fever readings for a baby under 3 months old:

  • First, ask your child’s healthcare provider how you should take the temperature.

  • Rectal or forehead: 100.4°F (38°C) or higher

  • Armpit: 99°F (37.2°C) or higher

Fever readings for a child age 3 months to 36 months (3 years):

  • Rectal, forehead, or ear: 102°F (38.9°C) or higher

  • Armpit: 101°F (38.3°C) or higher

Call the healthcare provider in these cases:

  • Repeated temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher in a child of any age

  • Fever of 100.4° (38°C) or higher in baby younger than 3 months

  • Fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child under age 2

  • Fever that lasts for 3 days in a child age 2 or older

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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