Children’s Hospital of New Jersey Offers Health Checklist at Back-to-School Time

Photo credit: Brandi Sims

NEWARK — When equipping your child with notebooks, pens, and a new set of clothes for the first day of school, don’t forget about his/her health. Nwando Anyaoku, M.D., MPH, Division Chief and Director of Pediatric Ambulatory Services at Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, suggests that parents help their children to transition back-to-school with a clean bill of health.

“Children will be better prepared to begin the school year if parents have a back-to-school checklist of health issues to address with the pediatrician and the school nurse,” says Dr. Anyaoku. “Good health begins with checkups before school starts.”


The following are some suggestions from Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center:

·        Have your child’s vision screened.  A visit to the eye doctor for a comprehensive eye exam is an important part of overall health. According to an American Optometric Association survey of K-12 teachers, 81 percent believe vision and learning are interdependent. And don’t forget to invest in one-piece wrap-around polycarbonate sports frames for all contact sports.

·        Immunizations up-to-date?  Be sure to schedule an annual checkup and review any missed or new immunizations. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) website explains childhood vaccinations, advising what is needed at what age. If you have recently moved from another state, check with a pediatrician to see if your child meets the state’s regulations.

·        Does your child receive medication on a regular basis for a chronic problem?  Any health problems should be made known to the school. School nurses and teachers should be informed, especially if they are the ones to administer the medicine.  Speak with them before school begins and work out an emergency action plan.

·        Have your child’s hearing tested. If your child is listening to the television or music at a loud volume, or tends to favor one ear over the other when listening, it may be a sign of hearing loss.

·        Update emergency contacts. Make sure your child’s emergency telephone number card is accurate and current. If you move or change a number, correct it the next day. The child’s physician and dentist need to be listed.

·        Is your child apprehensive about the new school year?  Remind your child that he or she is not the only student who is uneasy about the first day of school. If after a few weeks, your child continues to be anxious, bring this to the attention of his or her teacher.

·        Watch out for excessive backpacks. The AAP advises parents not to strap a jumbo backpack on their children — never more than 20 percent of the child’s body weight. Some children may even prefer a rolling Make sure all backpacks have wide straps for support.

With a little effort before school starts, your child will sail back to school healthier, happier, and read to learn.

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