(HealthDay News) — Recommendations for preventive pediatric health care have been updated, according to an American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) policy statement published online February 24 in Pediatrics.

Geoffrey R. Simon, MD, from the AAP Committee on Practice and Ambulatory Medicine, and colleagues updated its recommended schedule of screenings and health assessments for well-child visits from infancy through adolescence.

According to the report, changes include use of a specific screening tool for alcohol and drug use in adolescents, as well as depression screening at ages 11–21 years, using suggested screening tools. Screening for cholesterol at ages 9 and 11 has been added, as well as a risk assessment for hematocrit or hemoglobin at ages 15 and 30 months. HIV screening was added at age 16–18 years, but adolescents no longer require routine screening for cervical dysplasia until age 21. Before leaving the hospital, newborns should be screened for critical congenital heart disease using pulse oximetry.

“Each child and family is unique; therefore, these Recommendations for Preventive Pediatric Health Care are designed for the care of children who are receiving competent parenting, have no manifestations of any important health problems, and are growing and developing in satisfactory fashion,” the authors write. “The AAP continues to emphasize the great importance of continuity of care in comprehensive health supervision and the need to avoid fragmentation of care.”

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