As children return to school after several months of summer, there are a number of steps you can take to ensure they have a safe and healthy school year. Before your child steps back into the classroom, set some time aside to go over these back-to-school safety tips.
How to be safe at school
Although it’s impossible to predict all of the potentially dangerous situations that could arise for your child during the school year, there are things you can anticipate and be proactive about. Here’s a back-to-school safety checklist to review with your child.
Travel safety precautions
Getting your child to and from school is something that stresses every parent. Many prefer to drive their child to school themselves; however, that isn’t an option for some parents. If your child walks, rides their bike, or takes the bus to school, you should talk to them about the importance of transportation safety.
If your child walks to school, make sure they know to always stay on the sidewalk. Staying off their phone to minimize being distracted is critical to avoid accidents with both cars and other pedestrians. Basic traffic rules should also be followed.
For bike riders, make sure your child knows common bike safety tips, including traffic signals. A helmet should be worn at all times as well.
If your child rides the bus to school, teach them how to get on and off the bus safely. This means staying at least six feet away from the curb at all times while waiting on the bus. It also means ignoring any strangers that try to talk to them while they wait for the bus to arrive.
As children get back to physical education classes, recess, and after-school sports activities, it can be easy for them to forget to stay hydrated. During the summer, your child may have you there to remind them to drink plenty of fluids when they’re sweating. However, at school, it’s up to them to remember.
Go over the importance of drinking water with your child and what the risks of dehydration are. Make sure they also know that sugary drinks like soda and fruit juices don’t count as a hydrating fluid.
If your child has signed up to play a sport this school year, there’s a good chance the school will require a physical beforehand. Even if it’s not required, it’s a good idea to get your child checked out to ensure they’re healthy enough to play.
During a sports physical, your child will be checked for their:
- Height and weight
- Blood pressure and heart rate
- Abdomen, heart, lungs, ears, nose, and throat
- Hearing and vision
- Strength, flexibility, coordination, reflexes, and posture
The doctor will likely want to know about your child’s family history as well as any previous surgeries, allergies, past injuries, and any medications your child currently takes.
Immune system safety
Another important thing to review with your child is how to stay healthy and illness-free during the school year. One of the best ways to ensure your child doesn’t get sick this year is to help them establish a good bedtime routine. Kids ages five through 12 need a minimum of nine hours of sleep each night, with 11 hours being ideal.
It’s also good for your child to move for at least 60 minutes each day, which could include sports practice or a walk around the block. Doing so will lead to better sleep, improved behavior, and better stress management.
You should also emphasize to your child how crucial it is that they eat a healthy diet. When given the choice, most kids will opt for processed, unhealthy food options. However, whole foods such as fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains will keep your child’s immune system strong.
What are the best ways to avoid playground injuries?
Playgrounds are a great place for kids to exercise and get out energy, but they can also be dangerous when kids get rowdy. For younger children, it’s important that a supervisor of some sort is always present. If possible, visit the playground at your child’s school and observe all equipment. If you feel that any of it is unsafe, make your concerns known to your child’s school.
Before the school year begins, remind your child of basic playground rules. Swinging should always be done one at a time while sitting down. Monkey bars should only be used for climbing and not for acrobatics. Pushing and roughhousing should also never be tolerated.
What back-to-school vaccines does my child need?
Making sure your child is up to date on their vaccines is an important step in keeping them healthy all school year long. During your child’s back-to-school physical or annual checkup, ask their doctor what vaccines they need.
Each state has its own list of immunization requirements, although some schools and daycares require their own list of vaccines as well. If you have questions about which shots your child needs, talk to a staff member for a detailed list.
Some of the vaccines your child may need to get include the DTaP, IPV, MMR, Varicella, and the flu shot.
If your child needs a back-to-school sports physical or simply needs to get vaccinated, consider stopping by your local CareNow® urgent care clinic. We offer a variety of services, including COVID-19 vaccinations, to ensure your child has the safest and healthiest school year possible.
With more than 175 locations throughout the country, we’re a quick and convenient way to get medical care. We also offer a Web Check-In® feature that allows you to check in for your visit before you arrive so you can wait from anywhere!
We’ve also earned the distinction of Accredited Urgent Care Center from our industry’s association, Urgent Care Association (UCA), so you know you’re getting only the best care.
Disclaimer: Patients’ health can vary. Always consult with a medical professional before taking medication, making health-related decisions, or deciding if medical advice is right for you.