Back to School Health and Safety Tips to Keep Your Family Well
With summer winding down, it’s time for another school year to begin. This means back-to-school shopping, fall sports, band rehearsals, and an increased risk of illness and injury. So what can you do to keep your children healthy as they head back to school? Fortunately, there are several steps to take. In this article, we’ll look at five of the most effective health and safety tips to keep in mind as the school year begins.
5 Back to School Health Tips for 2023
For toddlers and preschoolers, being sick between eight to 12 times per year isn’t unusual. School-age children often get sick between five and six times per year. Plus, between sports, recess, and after-school activities, kids are more likely to come home with a sprained ankle or scraped knee.
It’s impossible to avoid every injury or ensure your child never gets sick. But taking steps to prevent common illnesses and injuries helps you and your child have a healthier, happier year as they head back to school.
1. Keep Your Hands Clean
Hand hygiene is incredibly important as the school year begins. Schools are notorious for being covered in germs and having hundreds of students near each other every day is a perfect storm for illnesses to spread. Studies show that those who wash their hands regularly have 24% fewer sick days due to respiratory illnesses and 51% fewer sick days due to gastrointestinal illness. Yet, 43% of children don’t wash their hands enough at school. Between time constraints, the lack of reminders, and unavailable hand hygiene supplies in the classroom, proper hand hygiene is a challenge. Not to mention that many kids would rather be enjoying recess than washing their hands. So before sending your child back to school, remind them to wash their hands before eating, after using the restroom, and after coughing or sneezing. If they’re school-aged, sending them to school with a fun hand sanitizer dispenser clipped to their backpack is a great way to encourage hand hygiene.
2. Get Enough Sleep
More than half of children in middle school and high school don’t get enough sleep. This is harmful and leads to an increased risk of illness. Children who don’t sleep long enough each night also have difficulty learning and socializing. As the school year begins, now is the perfect time to get into good sleep habits. Ensure your child goes to bed at a consistent time each night and gets at least eight to ten hours of sleep before waking up.
3. Make Your Child’s Backpack Lighter
Did you know backpacks can cause lasting damage to your child’s neck, shoulders, and back? If a bookbag is too heavy, your child could get injured. Experts recommend backpacks should weigh no more than 5-10% of your child’s body weight. So if your child weighs 50 pounds, their filled backpack should be five pounds or lighter. You should also encourage your child to wear their bookbag with both straps. This helps evenly distribute the weight across both shoulders.
4. Get a Sports Physical
If your child plans to play sports, there’s a good chance their school will require a sports physical. This needs to be completed by a trained healthcare provider, such as a physician or nurse practitioner at urgent care. Even if the school doesn’t require a physical, it’s a good idea to get your child one anyway. Physicals ensure it’s safe for your child to participate in a sport before they begin, which can prevent injuries. The provider also helps develop a custom plan for your child if they have a chronic condition. For instance, if your child has asthma, the provider will adjust their medication plan to help them breathe easier during exercise. And since children’s bodies are constantly growing and changing, a new physical should be done at the start of every school year. Last year’s exam could have missed something important that’s developed between now and then.
5. Stay Safe Crossing Streets
Before sending your child back to school is the perfect time to review walking safety tips—especially for crossing the street. Teach your child to use the sidewalk, stop and look both ways, and use crosswalks. It’s also important to avoid distractions while walking, like looking at a phone or playing games with friends.
Velocity Urgent Care is Your Partner for Back to School
As the school year kicks off, Velocity Urgent Care is here to help you keep your child healthy. Whether they’ve come down with a cold, have a sprain, suffer a broken bone, or need a physical for sports, our providers have you covered. We’re ready to treat any minor illness or injury at a moment’s notice. Our clinics are equipped with on-site x-ray and lab testing and our friendly, board-certified providers are ready to answer your questions and get you back on your feet.
When you or your child needs care, just walk in to any of our convenient locations or make an appointment with our online registration portal to skip the waiting room and arrive when it’s your turn to be seen. We also offer text message updates so you can wait in the car (if you prefer) until it’s time for your appointment.
Velocity Urgent Care is an in-network provider for most major insurance plans, meaning you can be seen for the cost of your co-pay and deductible.
All our locations also accept Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Veterans Administration beneficiaries are also welcome.
To learn more about our services, locations, hours, and more, visit www.velocityuc.com.