When did pediatric 'well visits' start becoming popular?

I’ve never had kids, so I never had to be involved with one. If I had any as a kid I was too young to remember. I would think they probably didn’t exist until some time in the 20th century, but I don’t know. . .


Uh… what are you talking about?

Here, I’ll make it easier:

*When did pediatric ‘well visits’ start becoming popular? I’ve never had kids, so I never had to be involved with one. If I had a well visit as a kid I was too young to remember. I would think well visits probably didn’t exist until some time in the 20th century, but I don’t know. . . *

I encountered them in the mid 80s with my sons.

The concept (since it was asked above) was to have a block of time and/or a separate waiting room where healthy babies could be seen for routine checkups without being exposed to contagious, sick children. Usually these coincided with times that vaccines were due.

So checkups.

Checkups are a new thing?

How is a “well visit” different from a regular checkup?

You visit when you’re well as opposed to being checked when you’re not sick.

Just an FYI, there are a lot of checkups for the first few years, and they don’t all coincide with vaccinations. My pediatrician’s website recommends 7 visits between discharge from the hospital and 1st birthday.

Kids are always falling down wells, and really shouldn’t visit them.

FWIW, there is a big push for “wellness” at the hospital I work for. Oversimplified, it’s basically preventative medicine. Regular check-ups are part of it, but you can also get referrals to all kinds of classes and other programs that’re supposed to keep you healthy in general, as opposed to just treating specific things. Weight management classes, yoga, various classes, etc. There was even a class where they’d take to to Trader Joe’s and teach you the kinds of things that make for a healthy “base” of ingredients & food for the kitchen.

Kaiser has similar: http://thrivewithkp.org/

I had regular check-ups when I was a child, and that was over 40 years ago. Maybe the name has changed, but the concept hasn’t.

My oldest was born in 1981, and they were common then - we never thought anything about them. I’m pretty sure I remember a normal checkup from my doctor when I was a kid in the mid-1950s.

“Well care” has always been part of what pediatricians (and family doctors, for that matter) have done – just without the fancy name.

Here’s what my kids’ pediatricians looked for in a well care visit:

Check baby’s height and weight against the standards
Check overall development against age norms; reassure nervous parents that everything is fine
Once over the eyes, ears, listen to breathing, etc.
Update vaccinations, as needed.

In other words, all the stuff you want your pediatrician to do that they normally don’t have time to do when you have a screaming baby with an ear infection and the doctor’s trying to decide whether to prescribe the pink stuff, green stuff or yellow stuff.

My guess is that the earliest was in the early 1900s, which is when pediatrics emerged as a specialty, around the time that society began to create laws to protect children. Really taking off was likely in the 40s and 50s coincident with both the motivation to come in for preventative care for immunization that were becoming much more widely used than previous, and a large number of pediatricians who were previously kept fully busy taking care of those ill from those diseases now had to define a new role for themselves: advising on childhood care in general. This article by Benjamin Spock published in 1950 says something about that transition in progress:

His book * Baby and Child Care*, published in 1946, helped define the pediatrician as the place to go to get that general guidance for American parents.

I have annual checkups NOW and I’m a grownup.

IIRC, there was a period of 10(?) years or so when insurance companies stopped covering well child visits, and so many people stopped doing them, or cut way down. When I was first shopping for health insurance in the early '90s, insurance companies were starting to cover them again, and it was a big advertising point.

But, y’know, I was young, so I may have that wrong.

I think I had maybe 3 or 4 from about 3 to 18 (when I could remember).

Basically if I hadn’t visited for some extended period - like 9 months to a year, they’d have me come in for a really basic physical. No bloodwork, etc… but height, weight, BP, etc…

Generally speaking between being a grubby child and playing sports as I got older, I was in there often enough to where my doctor knew exactly what was going on with me.

You never had an annual check-up? Never?

Don’t know. But if I did, I was too young to remember. (Now where have I heard that before?) I have really good memory from first grade on, and I have no doubt my only doctor visits after that point were sick visits.

In any case, I thank DSeid for getting as close to the answer as we’re likely to get.