From the moment our children are born, we do everything we possibly can to keep them safe, healthy, and happy. Most parents are meticulous about ensuring their young children see a pediatrician for the recommended checkups and immunizations. We know how vital this can be for the health of our kids.
Surprisingly, as children grow into their adolescent years, they are much less likely to stay up-to-date with preventative care and immunizations that help to keep them thriving. The majority of parents and teens believe it is important to be vaccinated, yet they are much less likely to actually follow through with scheduling and attending the appointments.
As they become older, teens, along with their parents, tend to have relaxed attitudes about healthcare, keeping them from prioritizing necessary preventative health strategies, such as vaccinations. In fact, nearly 4 in 10 parents believe their teen only needs to see a doctor if they’re feeling sick, avoiding yearly checkups altogether.
Statistics to consider:
- Approximately 1 in 4 parents and teens believe that vaccines are more important for babies, and not as essential for teenagers.
- 34% of teens don’t understand how being vaccinated helps keep them healthy.
- While 92% of teenagers trust their doctor, nearly 47% admit they don’t like talking to their healthcare provider.
As a mom of 4 kids, two of whom are teenagers, I understand that as our kids get older and we’re worried less about developmental milestones and where they land on the growth charts, yearly checkups and recommended vaccinations may get buried under our busy schedules. These appointments might be seen as unnecessary.
The thing is, these preventative measures are critical, not only for the health of our teens now, but for their health in the future. When teenagers see parents making a point to prioritize healthcare, they are more likely to do the same, during adolescence, as well as throughout adulthood.
One way I stay organized, and ensure my teens are getting the care they need to he healthy and happy, is to schedule their yearly medical exam, including any recommended vaccines, around their birthday each year. This makes it easy for us to keep track of these vital appointments, even when life gets busy.
I was recently introduced to Unity Consortium, a nonprofit organization with diverse members, and a common objective to improve the health of adolescents everywhere, through a focus on prevention and immunization.
They offer a plethora of resources for parents and teens, encouraging all of us to talk with our healthcare provider about the CDC recommended vaccine schedule specifically designed for young adults between the ages of 11 and 25.
Here is a helpful infographic, from the Unity Consortium, for teens and parents:
What parents need to know:
- Annual checkups for teens, especially between ages 11-12 and 16 years of age, when vaccinations are recommended, are critical to their health and well-being.
- Talking to your doctor about the 4 main vaccines for teens – Meningococcal, Flu, HPV, and Tdap is vital. Discuss any concerns you may have, explore the facts, & immunize your teen against these preventable diseases.
- The medical care teens receive now, can have a lasting impact on their lifelong health.
- Visit the Unity Consortium for more information and access to useful resources.
How do you ensure your teen is getting the care they need to be healthy? Feel free to share your tips in the comments below.