August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Back-to-School Planning: Make Sure Your Child’s Health Visits Are Top of the List

When it comes to a smooth back-to-school experience, preparation is key. Gathering school supplies and catching up on doctor visits and other health basics can help children stay healthy and succeed in school.

Before kids go back to school, it’s a good plan to think “back to the doctor,” says the American Academy of Pediatrics. Your child may need a yearly exam, which helps track progress and growth over time to spot emerging problems. That visit is also a way to stay up to date with immunizations and don’t forget other routine health appointments.

Eye exams and dental visits also help keep kids healthy. Vision problems often have no obvious early signs. The American Optometric Association suggests that children without eye issues have a basic vision screening before first grade and then each year after that. Children at high risk may need a more comprehensive eye exam. The American Academy of Ophthalmology says children should have a comprehensive dilated eye exam if they:

  • Fail a vision screening;
  • Have a vision complaint;
  • Are referred by a pediatrician or school nurse;
  • Have a family history of eye problems;
  • Have certain health conditions, such as Down syndrome;
  • Have a learning disability;
  • Have a developmental delay; and
  • Have a behavioral issue.

It’s always a good time to build healthy habits to keep children’s teeth strong. Try these tips to keep teeth cavity free:

  • Limit sugary foods and drinks and when kids do have them, remember that they’re easier on the teeth when they’re part of a meal.
  • Limit between-meal snacks.
  • Chewing sugarless gum after a snack helps wash out food and acid that causes tooth decay.
  • Drink fluoridated water to help prevent tooth decay.

This is also a good time to talk to your kids about how they should handle safety related situations. Talk about getting to school safely. Ask them how they might feel or react if they were the target of bullying. Make sure they know how to identify the basic signs of a concussion. Discussing these and other safety situations before kids go back to school help them be prepared.

To access the full article on Back-to-School Planning, click here.

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