Now that our children are headed back to the classroom, it’s a good idea to remind your child of healthy classroom and activity habits to stay well and safe. As we navigate the challenges of returning to school amidst post-COVID awareness, it becomes even more crucial to prioritize health and safety. Let’s discuss some important back-to-school health tips to help your child have a successful and healthy academic year.
COVID, Colds, and Flu
With the increased risk of illnesses such as the flu, colds, and COVID-19 in schools, it is essential to take necessary precautions to protect your child’s health. The following tips can help prevent the spread of contagious diseases:
- Get vaccinated: Vaccination is one of the most effective ways to protect against various diseases. Ensure that your child’s immunizations are up to date, including the COVID-19 vaccine if they are eligible. Vaccines protect your child and contribute to the school community’s overall health.
- Wash hands frequently: Encourage your child to wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating, after using the restroom, and after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content.
- Avoid sick people: Teach your child to maintain distance from individuals who are showing symptoms of illness, such as coughing, sneezing, or fever. Encourage them to be mindful of their own health and to avoid close contact with others if they feel unwell.
- Stay home when you’re sick: Emphasize the importance of staying home when your child is feeling sick. This not only helps them recover but also prevents the spread of illnesses to others. Make sure your child knows the school’s policy regarding absences due to illness.
Playgrounds are great fun, but they can also pose certain risks if proper safety measures are not followed. Here are some tips to ensure your child’s safety while enjoying the playground:
- Supervision: Ensure that there is adequate adult supervision in the playground area. Adults can help prevent accidents and quickly respond to any injuries or emergencies that may arise.
- Safe surfaces: Check that the playground has a soft and impact-absorbing surface, such as wood chips, rubber mats, or sand. This can help reduce the risk of serious injuries from falls.
- Dress appropriately: Ensure that your child is dressed in comfortable clothing and wearing appropriate footwear. Loose clothing or clothing with drawstrings can get caught in equipment, leading to accidents.
Sports Preparticipation Physical Exams (PPE)
If your child plans to participate in school sports, it is crucial to schedule a preparticipation physical exam (PPE). These exams help identify any underlying health conditions that may affect your child’s ability to participate safely. Here are a few key points regarding PPEs:
- Medical history: The PPE will include a review of the athlete’s medical history, including any previous injuries, chronic illnesses, surgeries, or medications. It helps the healthcare provider assess the athlete’s readiness to participate in sports.
- Physical examination: During the physical examination, the healthcare provider will assess the athlete’s vital signs, cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal system, and other relevant aspects of their health. They may also conduct specific tests based on the sport’s requirements.
- Clearances and recommendations: Based on the PPE findings, the healthcare provider will determine whether the athlete is cleared for participation, needs further evaluation, or requires specific restrictions or precautions. These recommendations aim to ensure the athlete’s safety and well-being.
As you prepare your child for the new school year, remember that their health and safety should be a top priority. By following these back-to-school health tips and instilling good habits in your child, you can help them thrive academically while maintaining their well-being.
Peetz, Caitlynn. “Flu, Colds, RSV: How Schools Can Help Keep Kids Healthy as Illness Increases This Winter.” Education Week, 7 Dec. 2022, www.edweek.org/leadership/flu-colds-rsv-how-schools-can-help-keep-kids-healthy-as-illness-increases-this-winter/2022/12.
“Playground Safety (for Parents) – Nemours Kidshealth.” Edited by Yamini Durani, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Apr. 2023, kidshealth.org/en/parents/playground.html.
“PPE: Preparticipation Physical Evaluation.” PPE: Preparticipation Physical Evaluation, www.aap.org/en/patient-care/preparticipation-physical-evaluation/.