Your little one is doing great — eating, sleeping, playing, and quite possibly reaching for your phone as you read this. So why should you jump through hoops to schedule a pediatrician visit right now when they're perfectly healthy? After all, it's not always easy. In fact, Latinx families have a lot of social and structural barriers that can make it more difficult to check this task off our lists.
It can be hard to find an appointment time that accommodates our work schedules or commuting options. Some may not even be able to book the appointment if there aren't any Spanish-speaking staff members, or be able to afford it. Historically, our community hasn't always had reason to trust the medical establishment.*
But pediatricians like Dr. Aramburu de la Guardia, a board certified child and adolescent pediatrician who focuses and advocates for child mental health (follow her @pediatricsmom), are here to help. "There are practices that are culturally sensitive, offer instructions in Spanish, and are clear about cost and insurance options," she says. And they'll help you stay on top of your family's appointments. This is key because "well visits are crucial," Dr. Aramburu de la Guardia says. Here's why we should prioritize them.
During the first year of a baby's life, well visits are super frequent (after all, your baby is changing and growing a ton), but once your kiddo hits the two-year mark, well visits will most likely become an annual thing. A lot of us tend to skip them more and more as children grow up. "Typically, when a child is healthy and life gets busy, families may forget to book their appointments. Plus, some parents don't realize that yearly checkups for their teens are just as important," Dr. Aramburu de la Guardia says.
To make sure a well visit remains an annual event, she recommends scheduling their appointments as you plan your child's birthday celebration and setting a yearly reminder. And then, when you're at the doctor's office, book next year's visit when you check out. Because staying on top of your child's vaccinations is key to maintaining their overall health.
This article was developed with financial support by and in collaboration with Pfizer, Inc.