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Prevention Guidelines, Ages 2 to 18

Screening tests and vaccines are an important part of managing your child's health. A screening test is done to find possible disorders or diseases in people who don't have any symptoms. The goal is to find a disease early so lifestyle changes can be made and your child can be watched more closely to reduce the risk of disease, or to detect it early enough to treat it most effectively. Screening tests are not used to diagnose. Instead, they are used to decide if more testing is needed. Below are guidelines for these, for children and teens from ages 2 to 18. Talk with your child's healthcare provider to make sure your child is up to date on what he or she needs.


Who needs it

How often

Chlamydia and gonorrhea infections

Sexually active females up to age 24 years

Once a year

High lead level

Children age 6 years old and younger

Questions to determine risk or blood tests may be done once a year


All people ages 15 to 65 years and younger or older people at increased risk. Talk with your child’s healthcare provider

At routine exams if 15 or older or younger if at risk


Assessment of obesity risk for all patients

At routine exams

Tooth decay and other dental problems 

All children in this age group

Dental exams every 6 months; Fluoride supplements from age 6 months to 16 years for those with low fluoride levels in their water; fluoride varnish should be applied every 3 to 6 months; fluoride rinses may be used in children age 6 years or older, if they are able to rinse and spit

Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes

Children ages 10 or older who are overweight or obese and have 2 or more other risk factors for diabetes

Every 3 years

Blood pressure

All children 3 years of age and older

Annual well-child visit

Vision and hearing problems

All children in this age group

Screening once between ages 3 and 5 years, thereafter every 3 years


Who needs it

How often

DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis)

All children under age 7 years

Booster between ages 4 and 6 years  

Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, acellular pertussis)

All children age 7 years or older

Booster between ages 11 and 12 years

Chickenpox (varicella)

Children who have not had chickenpox

Booster between ages 4 and 6 years

Hepatitis A

Children at risk (talk with your child’s healthcare provider) or those who didn’t have the vaccine at an earlier age

Should be fully vaccinated by age 2; if not, can have vaccine at routine visits, with second dose given at least 6 months after first dose

Hepatitis B

Children who didn’t have the vaccine at an earlier age

3-dose series: the second dose is given 4 weeks after the first dose, and the final dose is given 16 weeks after the first dose2-dose series: for children ages 11 to 15, given at least 4 months apart

Human papillomavirus (HPV)

Children age 11 or 12 years, but may be given beginning at age 9 years through age 26

2-dose series: Ages 9 to 14 years, with second dose 6 to 12 months after the first

3-dose series: Ages 15 to 26, with the second dose given 2 months after the first dose, and the third dose given 6 months after the first dose

Inactivated poliovirus

All children

A final dose between ages 4 and 6

Influenza (flu)

All children in this age group

Once a year

Measles, mumps, rubella (MMR)

All children

Second dose between ages 4 and 6 years

Meningococcal (conjugate)

All children

1 dose between ages 11 and 12, and a booster at age 16, or by age 18 if not vaccinated before; only 1 dose is needed if the first dose is given at age 16 years or older; high-risk children should receive a vaccine series before age 2 years

Pneumococcal  conjugate (PCV13) and pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23)

Healthy children between ages 18 months to 5 years may get PCV13 if not received at a younger age; high-risk children may receive PCV13 starting at age 5 years and PPSV23 starting at age 2 years

PCV13 is given before PPSV23; the timing and number of doses varies


Who needs it

How often


Children between ages 12 to 18 years

At routine exams

Prevention of skin cancer

Fair-skinned children starting at age 10 years

At routine exams

Prevention of sexually transmitted infections

Children in this age group who are sexually active

At routine exams

More physical activity

Children with diabetes or prediabetes

At routine exams

Those who are not up to date on their childhood immunizations should get all appropriate catch-up vaccines recommended by the CDC.

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Liora C Adler MD
Date Last Reviewed: 4/1/2020
© 2000-2020 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.