Baby Photograph

Healthy Childhood

Immunizations are critical to brain developmentChildren must be healthy in order to grow and develop, to interact with others, to play, and to learn.  To ensure healthy brain development, children need to receive regular medical and dental care, eat nutritious foods, have regular physical activity, learn good health habits, and get plenty of sleep.

 

Beginning at birth, all young children need regular well-child check-ups with the same doctor to monitor and assure healthy overall development, as well as healthy brain development.  Regular check-ups also provide a chance for the doctor to:

 

  • ensure that children receive immunizations at the recommended times.   Immunizations protect against diseases that can affect brain cells, slow development, and even cause death.
  • test vision early and at appropriate intervals.  Because the brain's wiring for vision develops in the early months, vision problems should be identified and corrected as early as possible.
  • test hearing early and at appropriate intervals. Hearing is essential for infants to develop the brain wiring for language. Chidlren with impaired hearing may develop language more slowly or not at all. 
  • make referrals for dental care.  Dental health is important for overall health and nutrition, both of which affect brain development.
  • monitor children's development, and make referrals for evaluation if children are not reaching developmental milestones within typical limits.
  • make referrals for other services, such as WIC or family counseling.

 

Each child needs a medical home. The same doctor, team of doctors, or medical clinic should be available to provide regular well-child check-ups and sick visit, and should be able to refer familes for medical care after office hours.

 

Health care can be very expensive. When families have to pay for all medical care themselves, costs can become so overwhelming that they put off seeing a doctor until medical conditions become difficult to treat or even life-threatening. Websites such as Families USA can help families find resources to assist with health care costs.