Back to School Health Check List

Getting ready for back-to-school does not only include school supply shopping and buying that first day of school outfit. Consider the following to be included in a back-to-school health check list.

Immunizations

Is your child up to date? Many districts require immunizations before a child is enrolled in school. The American Academy of Pediatrics Web site explains childhood vaccinations and what is needed at what age. Parents can also contact the child’s doctor or local health department for information. Also, local health departments might provide free immunizations to children of some families without health insurance.

Vision

Children who can’t see well can’t perform well in school. And sometimes parents are not aware their child has a vision problem. Vision testing can be done at a doctor’s office. Some schools offer testing but a visit to a pediatrician, family physician or eye doctor can catch other issues.

Health issues

The child’s school should be aware of any health issues before school starts. Many districts have health forms available on their Web sites or a parent can call the school office. School leaders need to know what medications a child takes, even if they take them only at home. If there are medications the student needs to take during the school day, a form has to be filled out and the medicine brought to school in the clearly marked medicine bottle.

For those children with allergies to food, pollen, or other things, an emergency plan should be completed by the child’s doctor and sent to school. Parents can also arrange a meeting with the school nurse, secretary, principal and teacher.

Make sure all emergency contact information is up to date and kept current at all times. Also include the child’s doctor, grandparents and close family friend.

Inform the school of any physical restrictions or if they have asthma, a brace, heart murmur, etc., which could affect their physical activity.

Days Before School Starts

A child’s back can be affected by their backpack. The American Academy of Pediatrics advises parents not get their child a jumbo backpack. It should not weigh more than 20 percent of a child’s body weight. Also make sure it has wide straps and a padded back.

Make sure a child has a proper night’s rest and good breakfast before sending them off to school. Address any anxiety issues. Make them aware of before and after school care.

By Zachary Baeseman, MD, ThedaCare Physicians-Waupaca