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Back to School Safety Reminders

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

There is a lot involved in getting your child ready for school – shopping for new clothes, collecting school supplies, and getting a haircut just to name a few. When planning your back to school checklist, be sure to include safety precautions to help your child stay healthy and feeling energized this fall.

“I’m a parent myself, so I understand how busy the start of school season can be,” said SouthCoast Health pediatrician and mom Dr. Jami Scanlon. “But in the hustle-and-bustle it’s crucial to put health-related check-ups at the top of the to-do list, as it will set the tone for your child’s entire school year.”

With this in mind, we’ve pulled together four key health reminders for parents this season:

Backpack Safety

A backpack helps your student stay organized but an ill-fitting or improperly used backpack can cause back or neck pain that, over time, may cause permanent injury. To ensure a good fit, choose a backpack that is the right size for your child. Opt for a backpack that has a padded back and wide shoulder straps. Find out if your child’s school allows rolling backpacks, especially if your student carries heavy books.

Use all the available compartments and pack light, with the heaviest items close to the center of your child’s back. Your child’s backpack should weigh less than 10 to 20 percent of their body weight, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).

Teach your child to use both shoulder straps, as slinging the backpack over one shoulder can strain the muscles in the student’s neck, back and shoulders.

Food Allergies

About one in every 13 kids has a food allergy. If your child has a food allergy, prepare them to take action by always having an Epi Pen on hand. Make sure the school staff is aware of your child’s allergies and has a plan to provide emergency care if they suffer an allergic reaction. You can learn more about the prevalence of food allergies in children by watching SouthCoast Health's nutritionist, Rebekah Laurence, on WSAV to discuss this topic.

Rest and Nutrition

Proper rest and nutrition are essential to learning. Encourage your child to get 8.5 to 9.5 hours of sleep each night. Start each day with a nutritious breakfast. Do not rely on school lunches for nutritious meals – pack a lunch at least three days a week.

Back to School Checkups

Good health, sharp hearing, and clear vision are essential to a good education. Yearly vaccinations reduce your child’s risk for contracting or spreading an infectious disease. Back to school checkups also look for any problems that prevent your child from doing their best in school. Schedule your child’s wellness visit, eye exam and hearing test before the beginning of school.

Get your child ready for school by making an appointment for pediatric services with SouthCoast Health. Our pediatricians have the training, skills, and experience to give your child the best start to school possible.

Whether you are looking for a primary care doctor or a pediatrician, or another medical specialist, SouthCoast Health has you covered with its wide range of world-class healthcare services, available throughout the Coastal Empire and Lowcountry. Founded in 1996, SouthCoast Health has 120 physicians and medical professionals in 17 locations in Savannah, Richmond Hill, Pooler, Rincon, Baxley, Bluffton, Hilton Head, Hinesville, and Statesboro. SouthCoast Health offers comprehensive medical services including: Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, Allergy and Immunology, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Eye Care, Imaging, Infectious Diseases, Nephrology, Neurology, Physical Therapy, Podiatry, Sleep Medicine, Surgery, Clinical Trial Research Studies, Diabetic Self-Management Training Sessions, Dietetic Counseling, High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic, Laboratory Services, Massage Therapy, Optical Shop, Pharmacy, and Urgent Care.

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