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Preventive Health Care Visits in Infants

By

Deborah M. Consolini

, MD, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital

Last full review/revision Jul 2021| Content last modified Jul 2021
Click here for the Professional Version
Topic Resources

Health care visits also allow the doctor to educate the parents about eating, sleeping, behavior, child safety, nutrition, exercise, and good health habits. In addition, the doctor advises the parents what developmental changes to expect in their infant by the next visit.

Examination

The eyes are examined, and vision is tested. Infants who were born very prematurely (before the completion of 32 weeks of development in the uterus) usually need more frequent eye examinations by an eye specialist to look for retinopathy of prematurity Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) Retinopathy of prematurity is a disorder of premature infants in which the small blood vessels in the back of the eye (retina) grow abnormally. Retinopathy of prematurity is strongly associated... read more , which is an eye disease that occurs when infants are born before the blood vessels in their eyes are fully developed and may result in blindness, and for the development of refractive errors Refractive Disorders in Children In refractive disorders, the eye is not able to properly focus images on the retina, causing blurred vision. Refractive disorders result in blurring of vision. Children may be unable to make... read more , which result in blurring of vision. These disorders are more common among infants in this age group.

Screening

Screening tests are done to assess whether infants are at risk of certain disorders.

Safety

At these visits, the doctor gives parents age-appropriate safety guidelines.

The following safety guidelines apply to infants from birth to age 12 months:

  • Use a rear-facing car seat and place it in the back seat of the vehicle.

  • Set the hot water heater to 120° F or less.

  • Prevent falls from changing tables and around stairs.

  • Place infants on their back to sleep, use a firm mattress, do not share a bed, and do not place pillows, bumper pads, stuffed animals, or blankets in the crib.

  • Do not give infants foods and objects that can cause choking or be inhaled into the lungs.

  • Do not use baby walkers.

  • Place safety latches on cabinets and cover electrical outlets.

  • Remain alert when watching infants in the bathtub or near a pool or any body of water and when they are learning to walk.

Some Recommendations Regarding the Use of Infant and Child and Car Seats

Nutrition and exercise

NOTE: This is the Consumer Version. DOCTORS: Click here for the Professional Version
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Breastfeeding
When to stop breastfeeding (wean the infant) depends on the needs and desires of both mother and baby. However, it is preferable for a mother to wait until the infant is at least how many months old before completely weaning? 
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