By Amanda Rowell
It is important that before your kids head back to school you make sure that they are healthy and up-to-date on their health immunizations. Schedule a check-up appointment with your pediatrician to make sure that your child is ready for school, to obtain advice for staying healthy in a school environment, and to obtain any necessary immunizations. To find out if your child is missing any necessary shots, see the 2009 schedules published by the CDC at www.CDC.gov/vaccines/recs/schedules/child-schedule.htm. The charts are divided by age and include a “Catch Up” chart for individuals who start getting immunized late or are more than one month behind as well as a special downloadable version for handheld devices.
The American Academy of Pediatrics has released some guidelines for parents and children to follow with regard to backpack safety. To begin with, when selecting a backpack, choose one with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back to ease the burden on your child’s back. Make sure that he is packing light and making use of all of the bag’s compartments. A backpack should never weigh more than 10 to 20 percent of the student’s body weight. And finally, make sure that your child is making use of both of the bag’s shoulder straps to avoid straining muscles in his shoulder or sides. Rolling backpacks are the best option for students with heavy books. For more information, visit www.aap.org.
Heading back to school brings up a slew of issues for parents: How do I keep my child from getting sick when he is constantly around other children? How can I make sure that my child is eating healthy at school? Will my child be able to handle the stress of her senior year? Fortunately for us, 11 Alive news has compiled a list of resources for concerned parents bringing their kids back to school that can be accessed online at www.11alive.com/news/education/backtoschool/default.aspx. The site features numerous links to resources that address school heath, safety and nutrition.
On June 11, the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 with regard to the H1N1 Flu (better known as Swine Flu). Though the media hype has died down, the virus has not, so it is important to remember to follow basic guidelines for health like proper hand washing and cough etiquette to avoid contracting the virus. The Center For Disease Control (CDC) has released a wealth of information on how to prevent yourself from exposure as well as what to do if you begin to experience flu-like symptoms. For more information, visit www.CDC.gov/H1N1Flu.