Your Back-to-School Health Checklist
What to make sure you do before September comes.
With summer winding down, it’s time to start planning for the first day of school:
• Schedule wellness and dental checkups. An annual physical ensures your kid’s updated on immunizations and allows her doc to monitor issues like weight and blood pressure, plus screen for underlying health concerns such as diabetes. Teens should especially go to the dentist since there’s often an uptick in cavities at their age, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
• Look for signs that it’s time for a vision screening. Does your kid hold reading material close to her face, squint or complain about headaches, blurriness or double vision? He’s probably due for a visit.
• About two weeks before school starts, try getting to bed and waking up earlier. Grade-schoolers need about nine to 12 hours a night while teens do best with eight to 10. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends not allowing TVs, computers or smartphones in the bedroom, which can interfere with sleep.
• Get kids ready for sports. Schedule a physical before the season starts. And make sure kids have (and wear!) proper protective gear for each activity. The American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO) recommends eye protectors made with polycarbonate lenses for baseball, basketball, football, racquet sports, soccer, hockey and lacrosse.
• Update emergency contacts. Make sure her school has your most recent cell phone and work numbers, and give explicit instructions about any allergies or medications your child takes.