Back-to-School Health Tips
For schools on the traditional calendar, the new school year is just a month away and parents of school-age children need to start thinking about their son or daughter’s health requirements. Brenner Children's Hospital pediatricians offers these back-to-school health tips.
Parents of kindergartners are required to make sure their child’s vaccinations are up-to-date. Parents should make an appointment now with their child’s pediatrician to get their school health form filled out.
Kindergarten Health Exam Determines:
- Developmental readiness
- Physical check-up
- Eye exam
- Hearing exam
- Vaccination review/update
Most young children do not like getting shots. Knowing how to prepare them for this depends on the child’s needs. If the child works well with knowing what to expect, then prepare him for what’s ahead. If the child is anxious about shots, don’t bring up the subject first. If he asks about shots, don’t lie about it, that will only make it worse. It is better to say that it is up to the doctor whether or not they will receive shots that day.
Sixth graders need a vaccine booster to go back to school. Parents of rising sixth graders should get their child’s TDaP booster shot. The booster provides protection against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (also known as whooping cough). Sixth graders must have this booster within the first 30 days of the start of school. Scheduling an appointment now with your healthcare provider or local health department will ensure your child gets the booster in time.
The other health requirement for students going back to school is sports physicals for students planning to participate in a school sport. Sports physicals look for different conditions depending on the sport. Your child can get the required sport physical form from the coach of the sport they want to play.
Sport Physical Exams Determine:
- History of heart problems in the child or in the family
- History of any other medical problems including previous injuries, seizures or passing out
- Medications or allergies that coaches may need to be aware of
- Physical health including weight, height and blood pressure
- Recurring conditions (i.e. shin splints if Track, concussions if Football)
Staying healthy during the school year is a goal for every parent and their child. It can be tougher for kindergartners because they are exposed to germs and viruses that they haven’t built immunity against. That’s why you should teach your child proper hand washing, to not share drinks and don't send your child to school if the child has a fever.