NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Parents may be busy loading backpacks and buying computer supplies and clothing for their kids heading back to school, but there are even more important things mom and dad should be concerned about: a health and safety checklist that helps ensure their child’s excursion back into the classroom is safe and happy.
Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles has a checklist of health and safety moves parents should make before their kids hit the schoolyard. Here’s a snapshot of the CHLA list:
Get vaccinated. The experts at CHLA say vaccinations are “the key to your child’s health” and can vastly reduce the odds of serious illnesses such as whooping cough, measles and chickenpox (the first two of which are on the rise, the hospital reports). “Although these diseases are vaccine-preventable, they continue to circulate worldwide and cause infections in un-immunized children here in the United States,” says Jeffrey Bender, a CHLA disease specialist. “It is very important that children receive and update their vaccines for the well-being of themselves and others.”
Sports concussion checkup. Visit a health care provider staffed with a sports injury specialist to conduct a baseline concussion evaluation at the beginning of each school sports season. “Concussion evaluations are invaluable in that they allow for an educative opportunity for both the athlete and family involved. Information on concussion recognition, safe return to school and play, tips on recovery, warning signs for emergent care and future risk factors can all be addressed in this setting,” says Bianca Edison, an attending physician at CHLA.
Ease the morning rush. Keeping kids (and the entire household) stress free can make the first part of the school day run more smoothly, CHLA's Karen Rogers says. She advises parents to establish a routine and make sure the kids follow that routine. It’s a good idea to post a morning “to do” list on the refrigerator or another heavily trafficked area in the house. It’s an even better idea to start the morning rush the night before, going through backpacks and making sure school documents are in order and ensuring a healthy lunch or snack is packed in the fridge and ready to go.
Parents should also get their kids practicing good hygiene. Going back to school means more interactions with other children, and that raises the risk of germs being transferred to your child. Schoolchildren should wash their hands before lunch and school break periods, when they will likely interact directly with other children.
Finally, kids should have a safe route to school if they walk or bike, and parents should go over proper cellphone use so they’re used responsibly (including not using them when walking to school).