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MPC Children's Health

Maryland Physicians Care provides services to help children grow up healthy and happy. The services members can receive depend on a child’s age and program. These sections will help track important steps in a child’s development. Check the Member Handbook for more details.

Lead Testing

Lead can be found throughout a child’s environment, especially in soil and paint chips. No safe level of lead exposure in children has been identified.

Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health and cause well-documented adverse effects such as:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Slowed growth and development
  • Learning and behavior problems
  • Hearing and speech problems

This can cause:

  • Lower IQ
  • Decreased ability to pay attention
  • Underperformance in school

The good news is that childhood lead poisoning is 100% preventable.

CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is working across government programs to teach healthcare providers, parents, educators, and others how to track developmental milestones in children under five who have documented lead exposure―and how to act early if there is a concern.

Sources of Lead

Lead can be found throughout a child’s environment:

  • Homes built before 1978 probably contain lead-based paint. When the paint peels and cracks, it makes lead dust. Children can be poisoned when they swallow or breathe in lead dust.
  • Certain water pipes may contain lead
  • Some toys and jewelry
  • Candies imported from other countries or traditional home remedies.
  • Certain jobs and hobbies involve working with lead-based products, like stained glasswork, and may cause parents to bring lead into the home.
  • Children who live near airports may be exposed to lead in air and soil from aviation gas.

Lead Poisoning Prevention

The goal is to prevent childhood lead exposure before any harm occurs:

  • Primary prevention: Remove lead hazards before a child is exposed. This is the best way to make sure that children are not exposed to harmful lead.
  • Secondary prevention – Blood lead testing and follow-up.

Use this Prevent Lead Poisoning Coloring Book to talk to young children about potential dangers in and around the house.

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Blood Lead Test

A blood test is the best readily available way to measure exposure to lead. The amount of lead in blood is referred to as blood lead level, which is measured in micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (μg/dL).

No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, the ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. The good news is that childhood lead poisoning is 100% preventable.

Learn more about Maryland’s lead prevention program.

Shots and Immunizations

Shots are important throughout childhood to keep your child healthy. Immunizations (or shots) help protect your child from many diseases like measles and chickenpox. Your child should receive shots regularly at their check-ups.

Shots are carefully tested to make sure they are safe and effective. Check with your child’s doctor to see if and when your child needs shots. This link from the CDC can help you understand what shots your child should get at certain ages.

Well-Child Checkups

Children grow and change quickly. Your child must regularly visit a primary care provider (PCP), even when they are not sick. These visits are called well-child checkups.

We offer well-child checkups for children from birth through age 20 as a covered benefit for our members.

During a well-child checkup, your child’s PCP:

  • Does a complete physical exam
  • Checks mental development
  • Checks your child’s growth and nutrition
  • Checks your child’s vision, hearing, and teeth
  • Gives shots as needed
  • Orders lab work (for example, a blood test) as needed
  • Gives you and your child information about your child’s health

Maryland Physicians Care Recommends:

Your child should get a well-child checkup once a year.

The Benefits of Well-Child Checkups:

  • Prevention: Your child gets scheduled immunizations (shots) to prevent illness. You can also use these visits to ask your pediatrician about nutrition and safety in the home and school.
  • Tracking Growth and Development: See how much your child has grown in the time since your last visit and talk with your doctor about your child’s development. You can discuss your child’s milestones, social behaviors, and learning.
  • Raising Concerns: Make a list of topics you want to discuss with your child’s pediatrician, such as development, behavior, sleep, eating, or getting along with other family members. Bring your top three to five questions or concerns with you to talk with your pediatrician at the start of the visit.
  • Team Approach: Regular visits create strong, trustworthy relationships among the pediatrician, parent, and child. The AAP recommends well-child visits as a way for pediatricians and parents to serve the needs of children. This team approach helps develop optimal physical, mental, and social health of a child.

Childhood Nutrition

Good nutrition is very important in the first years of life for growth and development. Learn about healthy foods & drinks for your infant or toddler (up to 24 months) by visiting the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website.

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In the United States, children with obesity have continued to rise over the last twenty years. One in five (20%) of American children and teens are obese. The CDC has created an online list of tips and tools for parents to help children maintain a healthy weight.

Poison Prevention

More than 1 million American children younger than six years old are poisoned every year. Children that young may try to sample items even if they taste bad. Some of the things could be cleaning supplies. The CDC has created this resource to help keep kids safe from poisoning.

These steps can help reduce the risk of accidental poisoning in your home:

  • Store items like medicines, cleaners, paints, and pesticides out of sight and reach of children. The best place is a locked cabinet, above and out of reach of children.
  • If you keep harmful products in cabinets a child can reach, put safety latches on the doors. Unsafe household products are bleach, oven cleaner, dishwasher products, art supplies, and alcohol.
  • When you’re using a poisonous product, put it in a safe place before you answer the phone or the door.
  • Buy medicines in child-resistant packaging and keep them in their original containers. Don’t keep old medicines in your house; get rid of them. To learn how to throw away medicines safely, go to www.fda.gov, and type “safe disposal of medicines” in the search box.
  • Never refer to medicines as candy and try not to take your medication in front of small children as they may try to mimic you later.
  • Be aware of items in a handbag that could be poisonous, such as makeup and medicines—store handbags out of reach of kids and small children.

If you think a child may have been poisoned, call the nationwide poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If he or she is not breathing or has collapsed, call 911.

Know The Facts About Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Symptoms are flu-like, including: fever, coughing, and shortness of breath.

If you think you might have been exposed, contact your doctor immediately. You can also have a video visit with a doctor using the MyVirtualMPC app.

It is important to do everything you can to protect yourself from COVID-19.