As the summer winds down, it’s time to start thinking about back to school. With just a few weeks before school starts again, August is the time to prepare your children for the new school year.
Preparing for back to school isn’t just about buying a new backpack or school supplies—it’s about your child’s health, too. Here’s how to ensure your child stays healthy as they go back to the classroom.
-Get a check-up. This is the perfect time to get your child checked out. You want to make sure that your child is healthy and ready for school, and that there are no problems or unaddressed health issues that could inhibit their success.
-Get vaccinated. Contact your Capital Pediatric doctor about fulfilling your child’s immunization requirements. The earlier you make an appointment, the better. Vaccinations at this time of year are in extremely high demand.
*When scheduling any kind of medical care for your child, particularly immunizations, do not use retail-based clinics (clinics found in supermarkets, pharmacies, and in similar locations). In the interests of your child’s well-being and your peace of mind, go to your Capital Pediatrics or another established doctor instead. Use of retail-based clinics, which aren’t as sanitary or qualified, is highly discouraged by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
-Backpack safety. Speaking of buying school supplies, the backpack you buy for your child is very important, as it’s something they will be carrying every day. The ideal backpack will have wide, padded straps, and a padded back. Backpacks with a variety of pockets are preferable, because the many pockets allow weight to be distributed more evenly. Heavier items should be backed closed to the center of the back. Your child’s backpack should never weigh more than 10-20% of your child’s body weight. If your child has a lot to carry, consider investing in a rolling backpack, if your child’s school allows it.
-Traveling to and from school. Even though you may have done the commute a million times already, it’s important to review the basic rules of traffic safety with your child before school begins. Remind your child to look both ways before crossing the street, to stay firmly on the sidewalk until it’s time to cross, and to always stay within sight of bus and other drivers.
In your own car, make sure that all passengers have their seat belts on at all times. Your child should ride in a car safety seat as long as possible. After that, your child should switch to a booster seat. Your child is ready for a booster seat when they have reached the maximum weight or height allowed by their seat, when their shoulders reach above the top harness slots, or when their ears have reached the top of the seat. Your child can ride normally in a car seat when they reach about 4’9” in height. This is usually between ages 8 and 12. If the car’s seat belt lies on your child’s neck or throat instead of across the chest, they are not old enough to be seated without a car seat or booster.
-Healthy eating. The new school year is the perfect time to start a new food regiment. Making sure that your child is eating well will do wonders for their health. Make sure, for example, that your child eats a nutritious breakfast before leaving to school. Studies show that children who eat a nutritious breakfast do better in school, and have more concentration and energy. Be sure to pack your child a few healthy snacks they can munch on throughout the day too. This is especially important if they partake in extracurricular activities or are involved in the after school program.