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Doctor Visit: The 4-Year Checkup


As a mom or dad of a toddler, you already understand the importance of periodic pediatrician visits. At 4 years old, your child is likely going through a lot of transitions physically, socially and mentally.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, during age 4, children are learning the bulk of their introductory social, language and fine motor skills. As you can probably tell already, your son's or daughter's vocabulary is growing and your child is gaining more independence. His or her personality is starting to show more and more every day, and he or she is learning to be more self-aware. That is why the four-year checkup is so important. With so much development at this age, a visit is necessary to see if your kid is on track to a healthy childhood.

Here is some more information about the four-year visit that parents need to know:

Practical information

Because your child is going through significant developmental stages at age 4, your pediatrician will want to check height and weight, and possibly body mass index to see how your child's measurements compare to growth charts, according to the Nemours Foundation. He or she will also conduct vision, hearing and blood pressure tests to see if there are any underlying issues.

The doctor will also likely conduct a physical exam to listen to major organs like the heart and lungs. He or she will look at your child's fine motor skills and check for linguistic developments, as both of these skills change often during the preschool years. By now, your daughter should be able to identify colors, catch a bounced ball, be able to tell a story and put together full sentences so strangers can understand her.

Preschoolers will also be getting used to potty training, so now is the time to ask your doctor about toilet training and how to prevent bedwetting accidents. Sleep habits are also crucial during this stage of childhood development, so discuss with your pediatrician the best nap schedules and how many hours of sleep your little one should be getting per night. Talk to the doctor about any major health events your child has been through since the last checkup, such as trips to the ER, allergic reactions, or bouts with the cold or flu.

a young girl getting an immunization shot from a doctorThere are several vaccinations your 4-year-old will need before starting school.

Immunizations and tests

There are several immunizations that your pediatrician will recommend at this age. Believe it or not, your 4-year-old will be starting school soon, and this is an important time for immunizations and updates. Some of these may include the DTaP, polio, MMR, chickenpox and hepatitis A vaccines. In addition to hearing and vision tests, your pediatrician might also conduct a tuberculosis test to ensure there are no signs of poor lung function.

Questions to ask

Kids will start to play a lot more during age 4, so ask your pediatrician about safety precautions and athletic ability. For instance, you might be wondering if your child is healthy enough to play team sports or if there are any bike safety and helmet laws you need to consider. You might also be noticing food allergies or sensitivities by this age, so ask about what kind of proper diet your 4-year-old needs to stick to. If your child has started preschool or playdates, begin asking the pediatrician what kinds of things you should be looking out for in terms of social development.

Turning 4 years old is a big milestone in childhood, and it's also an important time for your child's mental, social and physical progress. Don't hesitate to ask questions and listen carefully to your pediatrician during this checkup. 

Doctor Visit: The 5-Year Checkup 4

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