Back-To-School Health and Safety Tips from the Doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care
Brightly colored pens, notebooks, and book bags now adorn the shelves of just about every store, signaling the bittersweet end of summer vacation and the start of a new school year. As you prepare for your child’s return to the classroom, just remember that there is more to consider than sharp pencils, new sneakers, and an apple for the teacher. To thrive in school, children must be healthy and well-rested. Therefore, it’s important to review your child’s health status on a regular basis, and the beginning of each grade is a perfect time to do so.
Following are some suggestions from the doctors at South Tampa Immediate Care to help ensure that your child gets off to the best possible start as he or she embarks upon the milestone of a new school year:
Immunizations – Check with your doctor to confirm that your child has received the recommended vaccinations for his or her age group. In school, your child will be exposed to many other students, so it’s important to ensure that he or she is vaccinated for common infectious diseases, such as measles and chicken pox. Additionally, yearly flu shots are generally recommended for everyone over six months of age.
Eye exam – Studies show that up to 80 percent of learning occurs through a child’s eyes, and approximately 25 percent of school-age children are visually impaired. A comprehensive eye exam can identify common problems such as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, lazy eye, and misaligned eyes, among others. Children often respond better to treatment when such problems are diagnosed and treated early.
Backpack – Heavy backpacks can lead to back pain, and the weight of textbooks, school supplies, lunches, snacks, and technology can quickly add up. Be sure to monitor the load your child is toting back and forth each day. A compartmentalized pack will make it easier to organize the contents in such a way that your child carries the heaviest items closest to his or her body. Also, select a pack that has two shoulder straps, both of which should be worn to help ease the strain on your child’s back.
Bike helmet – If your child rides a bicycle to school (or afterwards), make sure that he or she always wears a snug but comfortable helmet. Under Florida law, children under age 16 are required to wear a bicycle helmet that is properly fitted and fastened securely with a strap. Head injuries account for approximately 63 percent of bicycling fatalities, and helmet use can reduce the risk of head injury by up to 85 percent. All helmets sold in the U.S. must meet stringent requirements imposed by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Back-to-school jitters – The prospect of a change in routine and a room full of strange faces can be daunting to a child. Talking with your child beforehand can ease the transition from home to school. Make a point to engage your child on a regular basis to ensure that he or she feels comfortable communicating with you, and that you know his or her personality and can be cognizant of behavioral changes.
Finally, you can help make your child feel good about going back to school by planning a favorite outfit for the first day and talking about being reunited with friends. Express enthusiasm about the new school year. If you are confident and excited, your child will likely feel that way, too.
Contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care if you would like further information or need to see a physician. Our walk-in clinic is conveniently located on South Howard Avenue in Tampa, FL, and we welcome patients from Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Brandon, and the rest of the Greater Tampa Bay area. Additional articles offering health and safety tips are available on our website.