By Denise Warrick, MD, Community Pediatrician:

I’m Denise Warrick. I’m a community pediatrician in the Cincinnati area, and I’m a delegate at large for the Ohio American Academy of Pediatrics.

I think as we’re getting back into our routine and learning to live with COVID, part of that normalcy is getting children in for their routine well-child visits and keeping up on their preventative medicine.

Well-child visits are absolutely essential. There are many reasons for kids to come in, aside from just routine vaccinations. We do a lot of screening during those visits, so including growth parameters. We also do hearing and vision screenings during that time. And sometimes, additional lab work to look for signs of anemia or other conditions like that.

One of the other big things that has missed out during the COVID pandemic is mental health screenings. We know that COVID has really taken a toll on a lot of our children and adolescents. nd we really find it’s key for pediatricians to identify when there are some mental health struggles going on for children or their families to really try to get them connected with services that would help them.

Delaying those immunizations actually just puts you at risk for those diseases even longer. So, it is important to keep them on time so that you’re protected at the right time and also so your body is producing an adequate response.

We are safe. So, it is safe to bring your children in to the pediatrician’s office.

We are looking out for their best interest. We’re doing our best to protect them with safety measures, distancing them in our lobbies. We’re keeping them in their car until the time of their appointment. We’re separating sick and well offices so that children can feel safe arriving into an office where there potentially may not even be any sick patients that day. We’re screening for fevers when patients are coming. We’re also wearing personal protective equipment.

We do recommend that people are wearing cloth masks when they are arriving into our offices.

Offices around the area are doing extensive cleaning, really to assure patients that we’re keeping all of our surfaces clean and we’re bringing them in to one of the safest places that they can be at this time.