Definition and Overview
A 30-month well-baby checkup is one of the series of routine visits recommended for all babies starting from birth. The purpose of these visits is to ensure the child’s health and assess his development on the basis of normal development goals for a child his age. These regular visits can also help resolve age-specific issues and detect early signs of potential health problems, for the protection of the baby.
Who Should Undergo and Expected Results
All babies aged 2 and a half years should be brought to the pediatrician for their 30-month well-baby checkup. Babies at this age are learning to talk and communicate better, and may even be getting ready for preschool. They also enjoy playtime, playing with other kids, listening to stories and participating in their family’s normal routines. Certain factors that come into play during this month also have a significant effect on the baby’s health. These include proper diet and nutrition as well as proper toilet training.
This visit focuses on the following:
Diet and nutrition – At 30 months of age, babies should have three main meals and 2 or 3 healthy snacks in a single day. However, it is still normal for them to skip meals occasionally.
Sleeping habits – Children at 2 and a half years of age should get about 13 hours of sleep each day. This can be made up of their nighttime sleep plus one afternoon nap.
Bathroom habits – At 30 months, most kids are ready to begin potty training. Some cues that indicate their readiness for such include pulling pants up and down by themselves, staying dry for longer periods and being able to communicate that their diaper is wet or soiled.
Developmental goals – There are developmental goals recommended for babies aged 30 months. Although babies develop at their own unique pace, these goals provide parents and pediatricians a guide to help them detect problem areas that require more help and attention. Most babies aged 30 months should be able to identify their body parts, wash their hands, jump in place, throw a ball, identify shapes and colors and begin to use pronouns.
The goals of the checkup are:
To assess the baby’s health and development
- To give the parents advice and guidance on how best to take care of the baby given his unique needs in his 30th month
How Does the Procedure Work
A 30-month well-baby checkup takes place at the pediatrician’s clinic or office, and may take around 30 minutes. This begins with the doctor checking the baby’s weight, height and body mass index. A physical exam and health screening then follow suit. The goal of these exams and screenings is to detect anything unusual that may indicate a health issue and identify any developmental delays.
The physical exam includes:
- Eye exam
- Listening to the child’s heartbeat
- Listening to the child’s lungs/breathing pattern
- Evaluating the child’s coordination and movements
- Assessing the child’s social and interacting skills
Assessing the child’s ability to use language
A huge part of the checkup involves the pediatrician asking the parents some questions and offering guidance on any aspect of child care that they might be having trouble with. Some examples are listed below:
How well is the child eating?
- How are the child’s bathroom habits? Have you begun potty training?
- How are the child’s sleeping habits?
- Have you noticed any new achievements and milestones?
The parents will also be given time to ask any questions or voice out any concerns they may have.
Towards the end of the appointment, the pediatrician will check the baby’s immunization record to ensure that it is up-to-date. If any immunizations are scheduled for the baby’s 30th month, these may be given on the same visit.
At 30 months, babies are expected to be done with their recommended immunizations, and may thus only require their annual flu shot. However, different clinics and pediatricians may follow different immunization schedules.
Possible Risks and Complications
A 30-month well-baby checkup is a safe, routine visit that poses no risk to the child’s health. However, to ensure the child’s safety, parents are advised to be present at all times during the entire appointment. This means that all physical exams and screening tests are conducted with the child’s parent or guardian in the same room.
If the child receives an immunization or vaccine during the appointment, the pediatrician will also inform the parents about what to expect from the said vaccine. Some vaccines come with a minimal amount of risk, but this is outweighed by the long-term health protection they can provide.
Nonetheless, some vaccines still cause some side effects in 30-month-olds, although these are very mild and are considered normal reactions as the body adjusts to the injected substance. These include:
- Mild redness and swelling at the injection site – These usually begin within 24 hours and may resolve within three days.
- Mild fever – This usually begins within 24 hours with ordinary vaccines and tends to resolve within two days even without treatment.
- Swollen glands
However, since most 30-month-olds will only need an influenza vaccine at their age, the risks associated with the flu vaccine should be carefully considered. Flu vaccines have shown their efficacy in keeping the flu at bay, but they may be unsafe for some kids. These include children who have an existing health condition that compromises their immune system’s ability to fend off potential illnesses, as well as children with severe asthma, egg allergy and an active wheezing episode. The vaccine, especially the nasal spray type, may also cause the 30-month-old to have a runny nose for a short period following the vaccination. However, this should resolve on its own within a few days, even without treatment.
The American Academy of Pediatricians