Well child check

Also known as: Well-child exam, Well-child visits

Your child just had a routine checkup to check how well he or she is 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 his or her 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

Always use a digital thermometer to check your child’s temperature. Never use a mercury thermometer.

For infants and toddlers, be sure to use a rectal thermometer correctly. A rectal thermometer may accidentally poke a hole in (perforate) the rectum. It may also pass on germs from the stool. Always follow the product maker’s directions for proper use. If you don’t feel comfortable taking a rectal temperature, use another method. When you talk to your child’s healthcare provider, tell him or her which method you used to take your child’s temperature.

Here are guidelines for fever temperature. Ear temperatures aren’t accurate before 6 months of age. Don’t take an oral temperature until your child is at least 4 years old.

Infant under 3 months old:

  • Ask your child’s healthcare provider how you should take the temperature.

  • Rectal or forehead (temporal artery) temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit temperature of 99°F (37.2°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child age 3 to 36 months:

  • Rectal, forehead, or ear temperature of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Armpit (axillary) temperature of 101°F (38.3°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

Child of any age:

  • Repeated temperature of 104°F (40°C) or higher, or as directed by the provider

  • Fever that lasts more than 24 hours in a child under 2 years old. Or a fever that lasts for 3 days in a child 2 years or older.