When Does Your Child Need a Physical Exam?

With the varying requirements for vaccinations, eyesight screenings, sports physicals, and more that your child is recommended to have, it can be hard to keep up with the when of each needed exam. Whether your child needs a wellness check, a screening to begin school, or an appointment to receive immunizations, here is a general guide to when your child needs to make an appointment with an NCHS pediatrician.

Infants and Toddlers

Due to more vaccine recommendations and the importance of tracking growth during infancy, newborns and infants will need more physical exams than older children. Babies are typically seen for physical exams at 2 weeks, 1 month, 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, and then again at 1 year. As children move into toddlerhood, they will be seen at 18 months, 2 years, and 3 years.


Preschool-age children will typically be seen once a year, right around their birthdays. They will likely need a dental, eyesight, and general nutrition screening before beginning kindergarten, and California residents are required to have specific immunizations before beginning kindergarten. Your child’s physical exams, health screenings, and vaccinations can all be completed at  NCHS  before he or she begins kindergarten.

School-Age Children

Children who are of school age should have physical exams every two years, unless something else requires more frequent exams, such as a medical concern or sports physical requirements. Most children don’t need more immunizations until they are around 11 or 12, so children will often be seen every two years until their vaccination requirements need to be met. Some school-age children may need yearly eye exams, but in terms of physical wellness exams, every two years should suffice.

Sports Physicals

For high school students who play sports, additional yearly physical exams are often required. These exams are similar to a standard wellness exam, but they will be more focused on ensuring the student is physically able to participate in their sport. The doctor will check height and weight, along with other typical physical exam requirements. A sports physical will also present you and your child with an opportunity to ask the doctor any questions about the child’s health, lifestyle, past injuries, and more. This is a time for the doctor to familiarize himself with your child’s health so that he can make educated recommendations regarding your child’s athletic involvement based on his or her health.

To make an appointment for a physical exam of any kind for your child, contact NCHS now and set up an appointment at one of our many locations.