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School’s Coming…Get Ready!

By Emily DeLeo

It’s not too early to begin getting your children ready for school. While you may be thinking of school supplies, you also need to consider your child’s health needs.

Immunizations. Check with your doctor or health department to see if your child needs any immunizations. Children ages 4-6 will need immunizations, but older children and teenagers may need some as well.

Dental. School-age children should visit a dentist every six months. Make sure your children are in the habit of brushing and flossing twice a day. Eating healthy foods and avoiding candy and soda are important, too. Ask your dentist about sealants. Sealants are a thin plastic coating applied to molars to prevent cavities. If your children are six or older then they may be ready for sealants.

Backpacks. Many children carry book bags that are heavy enough to cause damage to their backs. Buy a lightweight backpack that has padded straps. Ensure your child uses both straps over both shoulders, not just slung over one shoulder. General recommendations are that a child should not carry more than 10-20% of their body weight.

Medications. Any child who takes daily prescription medication while at school should have a separate pharmacy-labeled bottle ready to go for the first day of school. Students with asthma should make sure they have an extra inhaler. Remind your children that it is not okay to take anyone else’s medication.

Sports. Older children usually need a complete physical before participating in sports. Doctors’ offices fill up quickly at the end of summer, so make your appointment now if you haven’t already.

Emily DeLeo is the Community Health Liaison for the Riverwest Health Initiative. She can be reached at 263-8383 x.139

Riverwest Currents online edition – August, 2007