Your Best School Year Yet

Whether you’re dreading (or secretly loving) the fact that a new school year’s upon us, you’ve got some back to school health checkups to take care of. Follow these tips from the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) to give your kid a healthy start.

Schedule an eye exam.

According to the AAO, one study showed that a third of children ages 12 to 17 are nearsighted, yet almost 40 percent haven’t had a vision screening. The AAO suggests they go every one to two years. And make sure your young athlete wears sport eye protectors with polycarbonate lenses for baseball, basketball, football, hockey, lacrosse, racquet sports and soccer. Ninety percent of eye injuries are preventable with proper eyewear.

Go to the dentist.

Teeth are an important aspect of back to school health, too. Kids miss more than 51 million school hours each year because of dental problems, says the AAPD. Make sure he brushes and flosses every day and sees a dentist every six months. Get custom or over-the-counter mouth guards if they play sports.

See your pediatrician.

Ask about immunizations or boosters; many schools require verification that shots are updated. Kids also may need a sport-specific exam before they start an athletics program.

Get back into a sleep routine.

Make getting enough sleep and maintaining a consistent bedtime for the kids a priority. Grade schoolers need nine to 12 hours a night, and teens need eight to 10.

Never skip breakfast.

Studies have shown that kids who eat breakfast have higher test scores, better concentration and more energy, says the AAP.

Make sure the nurse knows if your child has health issues.

Send the proper meds needed for allergies, asthma or other issues. Be sure to update your emergency contacts, too.

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