News & Events

The Difference Between Pediatric Physicals And Well-Child Visits

Do you think alligators and crocodiles are the same? How about jam and jelly, or concrete and cement? These are examples of things that are similar but not the same. It is a roundabout way to get to our topic: the difference between pediatric physicals and well child visits. Both are necessary, and somewhat similar, but NOT the same.

What Is The Main Difference?

well-child pediatric visit

We would guess that most parents are not really sure of the difference. The main difference between the two is the well-child visit always includes a pediatric physical, but is more inclusive. Schedule a school physical or well-child visit at our pediatric clinic in Rochester, NY.

What they have in common is they should be done periodically and consistently, and they both are preventative measures so your child remains healthy.

The Stand Alone Physical

This type of exam is usually done at the start of a new school year or if your child intends to play sports. It covers the basics like checking height, weight, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, blood pressure, and blood oxygen levels. Our board-certified pediatricians will check for growth and development and if there are any problems before they participate in sports. It will probably include a check of your child’s heart and lungs along with their musculoskeletal system. It is a simple and forthright examination.

Continuity of Care Exam

The well-child visit is more of a “continuity of care” exam. Physicians want to prevent fragmented care where issues can be missed or overlooked.

These well-child visits have several purposes:

  • To prevent illness
  • To promote a child’s well-being
  • Keeping parents informed of their child’s development

In addition to the physical exam, children who are school age between 6 and 12 will most likely have their vision and hearing screened, their spinal health will be checked, and social interaction will be discussed.

Kids who are 13 through 17 will have some additional subjects covered. These can include nutrition, physical activity, signs of anxiety or depression, difficulties with puberty, acne issues, smoking, drug and alcohol problems, and pre-menstrual issues.

The goal of these visits is to prevent anything from getting out of hand. Issues including eating disorders, self-harming behaviors, and untreated heavy menstrual flow could all be prevented and handled with regular good visits. Sadly, as kids get older these well-child visits decrease or become non-existent, unless they are sick.

It is essential these annual visits continue. When a teenager trusts their caregiver, they are more likely to discuss issues bothering them. Detecting problems early can prevent years of unhappiness or health problems.

Contact our board-certified pediatricians at 585-426-4100 to schedule your child’s next well visit in Rochester, NY.


As of June 1, 2024, all refill requests for controlled substances (ie. stimulant medications) must go through the Patient Portal.