Back-To-School Tips Keep Kids Healthy, Safe

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Back to School

August 12, 2015

With the final days of summer upon us, back-to-school items are already popping up on store shelves. Pediatricians at Catholic Health remind families that getting their child scheduled for back to a school physical should be on their checklist.

The annual physical allows the pediatrician to monitor your child’s height, weight, hearing, and vision, as well address any emotional, developmental, or social concerns. These exams also address preventative issues and help regulate pre-existing conditions like asthma and allergies.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends school age children should get a physical at least once every two years. “Create a list of items to discuss with your child’s pediatrician,” recommended Jack F. Coyne, MD, chairman of Pediatrics for Catholic Health. Dr. Coyne noted that parents should consider the following questions at their child’s physical appointment:

  • Are there any vaccines my child may need for this visit or in the future?
  • When should my child complete the recommended immunizations?
  • Are there any physical or emotional signs I should monitor?  
  • Is my child meeting developmental milestones?
  • Are my child’s body mass index and weight appropriate for their age?
  • Could my family’s medical history potentially impact my child’s future?

In addition, if your child is a student athlete, he or she should have an up-to-date physical examination at least six weeks in advance of the sports season. If there are any new health concerns, they could be addressed before the start of the season.

Ease the back-to-school transition by keeping bedtime and meals scheduled during the summer and adjusting timing as school approaches. If your child has been going to bed later than usual, begin adjusting his or her bedtime earlier toward the end of summer. Depending on age, children and teens need between 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep nightly.

For young children, arranging to see their new classroom and meet their new teacher before school starts can calm first day jitters. Go over the school schedule with your child, including how she will get to school and what the plans are for after school time.

“Thinking about back-to-school now can help parents keep kids on track for a healthy summer and start to school,” added Dr. Coyne, who sees patients at Catholic Health’s Ken-Ton FamilyCare, located at 300 Two Mile Creek Road in Tonawanda. Appointments can be made by calling (716) 447-6450.