• Preventive health care;
  • preschool children;
  • primary health care


To review the literature on barriers to availability, access, and utilization of preventive health care for young children three to five years of age and their families and to discuss the role of nurse practitioners (NPs) in future research, education, and practice in this area.

Data Sources

A comprehensive literature search was conducted of online material and CINAHL and Medline (CD-ROM 1990 to present). In addition, experts in this area were asked to recommend extra reading materials. Additional references in textbooks and articles were examined.


The literature review supports that there are major barriers to be addressed in the areas of availability, access, and utilization of preventive health care services for young children and their families. Major concerns include mandatory system for preventative health care, lack of health insurance coverage, cultural issues, and parental effects.

Implications for Practice

Health professionals in the community will need to work together to reevaluate current preventive health care practices for young children. Alternative methods for approaching and providing preventive health care services may become increasingly important if these services for young children are to be provided at current or increased levels.