Book bags are replacing beach totes as it quickly becomes time for students to go back to school. Organizing your child’s health information, keeping current with doctor’s appointments and planning for emergency scenarios should be part of every parent’s seasonal routine, the nation’s emergency doctors say.
Some back to school action items:
- Organize your child's medical history records and emergency medical contact information.
- Complete a consent-to-treat form. The form authorizes medical treatment and you should give copies to the school nurse and any day care providers. List prescription medications, medical problems, previous surgeries and pertinent family history. Be sure to update your emergency contact information.
- Work with your school nurse and appropriate care providers to develop action plans for health issues such as asthma or food allergies. Has your child been screened for allergies? Are all vaccines and immunizations current?
- Schedule medical and dental check-ups before school starts or as soon as possible. In addition to a routine physical examination, consider vision and hearing tests, since impairment can adversely affect learning. Consider a sports check-up if your child participates in athletics.
- If your child walks to school or to a bus stop, review the route with them. Be sure to point out traffic dangers or other potential hazards.
- For bus riders, establish a safe and clearly visible pick up/drop off spot, preferably with a group of children.
- If your child drives to school, make sure he or she obeys all laws and wear seatbelts. Don’t text and drive!
- Make sure your child knows how to call for help in an emergency. Emergency contact numbers should be visible right next to every telephone in your home. Encourage your child to learn when to call 911 and give their name, address and a brief description of the problem.
- Avoiding backpacks that are too heavy can prevent back and shoulder injuries.
- Packing healthy lunches will help your child develop eating habits that ward off obesity, which contributes to a host of emergency and chronic conditions later in life.
- Try to encourage a consistent sleep schedule, especially for teens.