We all want the best for our kids and for them to remain healthy and well. With a new school year under way, help your kids get off to a healthy start by paying attention to some key health issues that can impact your child.
Update your immunizations
Immunizing your child is one way to keep them healthy. In addition to the fact that most schools require updated immunizations, the Centers for Disease Control notes the following three reasons to vaccinate your children:
Newborn babies are immune to many diseases because they have antibodies they received from their mothers. However, this immunity goes away during the first year of life. Also, young children do not have this “maternal immunity” against some diseases, such as whooping cough.
If an unvaccinated child is exposed to a disease germ, the child’s body may not be strong enough to fight the disease. Before vaccines, many children died from diseases that vaccines now prevent, such as whooping cough, measles, and polio. Those same germs exist today, but because babies are now protected by vaccines, we do not see these diseases nearly as often.
Immunizing individual children also helps to protect the health of our community, especially those people who cannot be immunized. These include children who are too young to be vaccinated (for example, children less than 1 year old cannot receive the measles vaccine but can be infected by the measles virus), those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons (for example, children with leukemia), and those who cannot make an adequate response to vaccination.
Have your child’s vision tested
Vision problems can cause headaches, impact attention, and affect your child’s performance in school. Children’s eye health begins in the newborn nursery and should continue throughout childhood, says Dr. Michael Repka, professor of ophthalmology and pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “For many children, an evaluation by a pediatrician may be enough. But if a child has a family history of vision or eye problems or has symptoms, he or she may need to have an official eye exam,” he says.
Start your child’s day off right
Make sure your children start each day with a healthy breakfast, and make sure they have plenty of water, healthy snacks and lunch to keep them going throughout the school day. Good nutrition is crucial for cognitive learning and creating a lifetime of good health.
You can also help by setting a good example. It is much easier for everyone in the house to follow healthy eating guidelines than for your child to do it alone. You can also make exercise fun by going on family bike rides or walks.
Talk with your child about safety
The beginning is of the school year is also a great time to talk with your child about safety. Make sure your child has your home telephone number and address memorized and remind your child about stranger safety. Set up an escape plan for fires and other emergencies and make sure that you have working fire alarms For the teenagers in your household, this is a perfect time to remind them about obeying traffic speeds,especially in school zones, and wearing their seat belts.