Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a significant drop in well-child visits at Cincinnati Children’s and at pediatric offices throughout our community. At the height of the stay-at-home orders, our visits were at about one-third of typical and now, we’re seeing about half of our typical volume. We definitely want to see our patients for well-child visits!
Why it’s concerning to delay care
We encourage families to schedule over-due and upcoming visits right away. Well-child visits are very important for ALL kids, especially those 24 months and younger, and our best advice is to keep those appointments.
During the first 2 years of life, we give children much needed vaccines that help prevent diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, chicken pox, polio, hepatitis, whooping cough, meningitis and pneumonia, among others. The concern we have now is that because so many children have missed well child visits – leading to lower immunization rates – we could see an uptick in preventable diseases when kids return to daycare and school. This is especially true for whooping cough, which had already been increasing in many communities before COVID-19.
Along with vaccines, well-visits are also a time when we screen for anemia, lead poisoning and check for important growth and developmental milestones. The appointment is also a chance for you and your child to have any questions answered about COVID-19 that you may have thought about since all of our lives changed in March.
It is safe to come in
Primary care practices everywhere have made adjustments in their processes and spaces to make sure it is safe for families to visit for appointments.
In our Pediatric Primary Care practices, our waiting rooms and clinic spaces have been separated to keep ill patients away from those who are not sick and allow for social distancing. We have also worked to shorten the amount of time families have to wait in the lobby before being seen.
When you come in, you, like everyone who visits Cincinnati Children’s, will also go through a screening process. This screening helps to ensure the safety of our families as well as our staff. You will also be required to wear a mask while you are at the medical center.
As businesses open and our lives slowly return to normal, it’s imperative that you also get your child back on track with routine medical care. This will help to ensure that they’re healthy when school starts and have the immunizations needed to fight off preventable diseases.