The return to school is fast approaching, and that means your child may need some physicals to be fully ready for school. Learn about the importance of these physicals and what to expect when you visit your pediatrician. 

Annual Visits

An annual physical exam is the same for children as it is for adults in many ways. Your pediatrician will check on some key vitals, basic measurements, etc. You should expect to check and discuss: 

  • Height and weight
  • Blood pressure, heart rate, pulse
  • Lungs/breathing
  • Nutrition
  • Developmental milestones
  • Sleep 
  • Any other medical concerns or conditions, such as allergies, diabetes, etc.

As your child matures, there may be questions regarding mental health and menstruation or testicle pain. 

The purpose of the annual visit is to be preventative and make sure your child is on track to stay happy and healthy. It is also the perfect time to ask questions, update medications, and update medical records in general. 

School Physicals and Immunizations

A school physical is often required by schools so that your child enters the new academic year with everything they need to stay healthy. Most of the requirements of school physicals match up with the information gathered at an annual visit, so it’s helpful to let your pediatrician know you’d like to do them at the same time. 

One important addition for school records is state-required immunizations. If you’re unsure of what those are, you can visit the immunization page for the Indiana Department of Health. They have a PDF you can download in both English and Spanish. 

If you’re worried about the cost of your child’s immunizations, then you could consider the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program. It is a federal program that supplies cost-free vaccines to children.

For anyone unsure about what vaccines their child needs for their age or whether to vaccinate, you can find helpful information from the CDC. They have a resource page with vaccines by age and another resource page about why to vaccinate

Sports Physicals 

A sports physical also called a Pre-Participation Evaluation (PPE), will also mirror your annual visit and school physical in many ways. It is something you can often take care of during your annual visit/school physical. The main objective is to make sure your child can safely participate in their chosen sport and to help prevent injury. However, a sports physical has a few key differences that are important to know about ahead of time. 

First, a sports physical often involves a form from your school. It is important to bring that form with you to save you from an extra visit back to your pediatrician. If your child is in high school, you can easily download the form from the Indiana High School Athletic Association

Next, a sports physical will involve a few additional questions and checkpoints. You can expect to discuss and/or check: 

  • Medical history (especially relating to medical problems that run in the family) 
  • Current health conditions (such as asthma, allergies, etc.)
  • Bones, muscles, and joints

It is critical to share as much as possible because your pediatrician may recommend changes in medications. A great example is asthma. If your child has asthma, they may recommend an increased dose or provide you with important information on what to look out for if your child may be struggling with their current dosage. 

Contacting Your Pediatrician

To ensure your child has everything they need to start school and sports, it is best to schedule an appointment sometime in the spring or summer. Worried about finding a doctor in time? Henry Community Health is here to help! You can search for one easily with our Find a Provider tool. Use the specialty “Pediatrics.” You can also visit the New Castle Pediatrics page to learn more about our approach and additional services. New Castle Pediatrics is also a registered participant in the VFC program.  

Still not sure what to do or where to go? You can always call the Henry Community Health main line at 765-521-0890. We are here to listen and serve.