How to Proceed with Examination of a Child?
The assessment of a child is quite different from that of adults and requires knowledge of normal variations in anatomy and physiology with growth and development. An important part of initial assessment includes triage and recognizing children with emergency signs so that they can be managed at the earliest to prevent death and referred timely to the specialist. After ruling out emergency signs, the children with priority signs require prompt assessment, management and referral to the specialist. In addition to normal history as in adults, prenatal and birth history, developmental history, immunization history, feeding history and social history are important for complete assessment of the child. The approach to physical examination should consider age and developmental level. It is important to make the child comfortable with pleasant surroundings and playful behavior to yield maximum information from the examination. In addition to diagnosing disease, pediatric assessment should involve identification of malnutrition, immunization status, level of development, screening for 4 Ds (Defects at birth, Deficiencies, Diseases and Developmental Delay including Disability), hearing and visual assessment and detection of child abuse. Tanner staging and psychosocial assessment should be done in adolescents.
KeywordsPediatric examination Triage Pediatric emergency signs
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