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Screening Tests for Children (Ages 2 to 12)

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Not everyone in this age group may need screening for every condition listed here. Click on the links above to read more about each condition and to determine if screening may be appropriate for you or your family member. You should discuss screening options with your health care practitioner.

Iron deficiency anemia

Children grow and develop rapidly and need iron in their diet to develop normally. If a child does not consume enough iron, there is a risk of developing iron deficiency. Iron deficiency can cause anemia, a condition that can delay a child's mental, motor, and behavioral development and create problems that last long after the iron level is raised to a healthy level. Poor motor skills, behavior problems at home and school, and poor performance in school can be the long-term consequences of not receiving enough iron as a young child (0 to 3 years of age).

Iron deficiency may also be due to a severe blood loss, a genetic disorder, or something interfering with the body's ability to absorb iron, such as a medication the child is taking or a chronic illness (e.g., celiac disease).

The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia in children 1-5 years in the U.S. is about 1-2%.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), like several other organizations, recommends that children be screened with a hemoglobin and hematocrit test if they have risk factors for iron deficiency or iron deficiency anemia.

Risk factors for iron deficiency anemia in young children may include:

  • Exclusive breastfeeding beyond 4 months of age without supplemental iron
  • Households with a low income or living in poverty
  • Drinking more than 24 ounces of cow's milk per day after 12 months of age
  • History of:
    • Medications that interfere with iron absorption
    • Extensive blood loss
    • Restricted diet that doesn't provide enough iron
    • Prematurity or low birth weight
    • Exposure to lead

Mayo Clinic: Iron deficiency in children - Prevention tips for parents

Sources Used in Current Review

American Academy of Pediatrics. Policy Statement: 2014 Recommendations for Pediatric Preventive Health Care. Pediatrics. Available online at Accessed October 2016.