Parenting isn’t easy. Sometimes, it can turn into one appointment after another and moms and dads can start to see themselves as more of event coordinators and taxi drivers than parents. There is no doubt that weekly dance classes and sports practices and after school activities can become overwhelming. But, parents find a way to make sure their kids make it to every event on time and prepared. The annual check-up, though, can sneak up on you.

According to Dr. Nada Owusu, “Most parents are good about bringing their children for their checkups…when they are babies. But, once they start kindergarten, and there are fewer reasons to come for things like immunizations, parents often only take their kids to the doctor when they are sick.”

Just like periodic dental checkups help ensure your child’s smile is perfect, an annual physical checkup can help make sure your child is growing normally. “These checkups give us an opportunity to make sure everything is good,” Dr. Owusu says. “Sometimes a child may look well, but when we check their blood, we realize they are anemic. We may notice they aren’t seeing or hearing as well as they should be.”

Children are literally changing every day and it’s vital to make sure that potential problems are caught early, when solutions are simpler. Dr. Owusu is proud of the times a routine wellness checkup has saved a life. “I’ve had patients come in for routine check-ups and have significant heart conditions. I’ve scheduled them for heart surgery the next month.” It’s hard for a parent to know what to listen for to detect a heart murmur or what to feel for to detect a swollen lymph node. But parents nowadays are experts at scheduling their children’s activities, so getting a child to an annual checkup can be as simple as plugging a date into your cell phone or coordinating a ride.

With regular checkups, the doctor establishes a health baseline that makes an abnormality easier to catch. By checking your insurance benefits, you may find that a wellness visit is completely covered or has a small co-pay. “There is a lot of education involved. We do check out the child, but we also inform the parents to help them take care of their child.”

At Children’s Healthcare Center in Danville, the doctors are committed to being a true community resource and becoming a part of the family. “Everybody loves their children,” Dr. Owusu says, “and when your child is sick, no matter who you are, you act like everyone else and get worried. So when you call the doctor you need someone to soothe your anxiety. You need a place where you know your child will be taken care of. Children need someone who knows them so that they feel safe and are comfortable expressing their feelings.”

Dr. Nada B. Owusu is one of the pediatricians at Children’s Healthcare Center at 201 South Main St, Suite 2100 in Danville. Call 434.799.2111 to chedule your child’s check-up.

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