Homework for Parents — Your Child's Back-To-School Health Checklist
Summer fun is almost over for millions American students. It’s time to put away the swimsuits, dust off the book bags and head back to school soon.
To ensure that students of all ages go to class in the best possible health, the nation’s emergency physicians advise parents and guardians to do a little homework of their own and go through a back-to-school health check list.
“Nothing is more important than making sure your child’s health is in check,” said Dr. Michael Gerardi, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians. “Make sure all of the necessary forms and information are organized and easily available to those who need it.”
- Organize your child’s medical history records and emergency medical contact information. Provide copies of this information to your child’s school and any day care providers with instructions to take it with them to the emergency department if your child is sick or injured. The form should include information related to prescription medications, medical problems, or previous surgeries as well as pertinent family history and emergency contacts. Free forms can be downloaded on the EmergencyCareForYou website. An emergency information form is also available for children with special needs. Complete a consent-to-treat form and give copies to the school nurse and any day care providers to keep in your child’s record and to take with them if your child should need to go to the emergency department. The form will allow caregivers to authorize medical treatment.
- Coordinate with the school nurse and your child’s physician to develop action plans for any health issues, such as asthma or food allergies. Communicate these plans to all appropriate care givers.
- Schedule medical and dental check-ups before school starts. Some children will need immunizations. Consider vision and hearing tests, since impairment can adversely affect learning. Consider a sports check-up if your child will be playing in sports.
- Review and do a dry run with your child of his or her route to school, explaining potential hazards along the way. If your child walks to school, make sure he or she understands potential traffic dangers.
- If your child takes the bus, establish a safe, visible pick up/drop off spot, preferably with a group of children and in an area where they can be clearly seen by adults. If your child drives to school, make sure he or she obeys all laws and wear seatbelts.
- Make sure your children know how to telephone for help. Post emergency contact numbers by every telephone in your home. Have them practice how to call 911 or the local emergency number and give their names address and a brief description of the problem.
- Develop a family emergency plan in case something happens on the way to (or from) and while at school. Be aware of the emergency and evacuation plans for your children’s schools.
School children are not only head back to classrooms in a few weeks but they’ll also hit the athletic fields as well to participate in school sports. Find out from emergency physicians here about what they are seeing inside their emergency departments and what your children should do to protect themselves.