By Orleans Hub Posted 29 August 2023 at 3:00 pm
By Lauren Rogers, PA, Oak Orchard Health in our Albion and Batavia Health Centers.
Hard to believe that the summer is fast coming to a close. The first indication of that is parents thinking about preparing their kids (and themselves) for going back to school. In this article, I want to give you a few tips on making those early weeks more successful and throughout the school year.
Kids do get sick more, especially during the first few months.
It’s true, kids do get sick more in the first few months of school. How do you prevent it? Be sure they wash their hands often, have them get enough sleep, and try not to send them to school if they are sick – unfortunately, that’s how germs get spread.
Often kids have runny noses, sneeze, and get chills. How do you know if it’s allergies or a cold, or something else? The symptoms can be very similar. Children experience congestion, itchy eyes, and a runny nose with allergies, but he/she generally feels all right. Cold symptoms include fever, chills, and achiness all over. If your child has a fever for more than 24 hours or you have any concerns about them, contact your pediatrician.
And if you think it could be Covid-19, over-the-counter tests are readily available at your local store. Take an at-home test and if positive, then contact your provider. It’s probably a good idea to have some of those tests at home.
The school physical
Often schools require that children get a physical so please make an appointment now if you haven’t. Here’s your opportunity to be sure kids are up to date on immunizations. It’s also a great time to discuss health conditions that can hinder school performance such as vision and hearing screens.
During a physical, we also screen for anxiety, depression, and behavior issues. These are important topics that need to be addressed and we need to develop a course of action.
To be successful at school, nutrition, sleep patterns, exercise, and screen time all play a role. Ending screen time an hour or more before bedtime will help them get better sleep.
Of course, we capture height and weight and discuss nutrition. According to the Centers for Disease Control, children and adolescents aged 2-19 in 2017-2020, obesity affected 14.7 million nationwide.
Another great way to keep kids healthy is to give them healthy foods and snacks. Easier said than done, right? It’s always best to eat something rather than skip a meal. Also, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day for kids. If they don’t eat nutritious foods or skip breakfast, they’re likely to be less attentive in school and that will affect how successful they are. Some good options for kids are eggs (even hard-boiled), cheese sticks, bananas with peanut butter, toast with nut butter, and yogurt, particularly Greek yogurt, are healthier choices. Try to avoid foods that come out of a package. Cereal is always easy but unfortunately, your child will be hungry an hour or two later.
Car Seat Safety
Back to school often means more drop-offs and pick-ups. Car seat safety is extremely important because motor vehicle crashes continue to be the leading cause of death for children 4 years and older (according to the American Academy of Pediatrics).
Car seat safety can be a complex topic but it’s so important. Be sure to read your specific car seat manual. Keep in mind that straps need to be as close as possible to the body of the child. Big puffy coats and Halloween costumes can often get in the way. Think about strapping your child in and then adding the coat or keeping a blanket in the car.
Did you know that New York State law requires that:
•all children under the age of 2 must ride in a rear-facing car seat.
•all children under the age of 4 ride in child safety seats.
•all children ride in child restraint systems until their 8th birthday.
If you have any questions on these topics, please call your medical provider or pediatrician. Oak Orchard is always here to help.