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BACK-TO-SCHOOL TIPS BY DR. DAVID FAGAN, CHAIR OF PEDIATRICS AT NUMC
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 24, 2012
Back-to-School Tips by Dr. David Fagan, Chair of Pediatrics at NUMC
East Meadow, NY….David Fagan, MD, chair of pediatrics at the Nassau University Medical Center, offers the following back to school tips for children and parents:
Visit Your Pediatrician
• The back to school check-up may be the only visit many kids and teenagers have with their doctor each year. The back to school visit gives the pediatrician a chance to provide a thorough physical exam and any necessary immunizations. It’s also a good chance to address important questions, especially with teenagers, including adolescent issues of drinking, smoking, drugs, sexual activity, and depression. This helps the doctor detect emerging problems. The annual exam also offers the doctor time to provide wellness guidance and advice.
Making the First Day Easier
• Remind your child that there are many children who are uneasy about the first day of school. Teachers know that students are anxious and will make an extra effort to make sure everyone feels as comfortable as possible.
• Point out the positive aspects of starting school. She'll see old friends and meet new ones. Remind her of previous years, when she may have returned home after the first day with high spirits because she had a good time.
• Choose a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps and a padded back.
• Organize the backpack to use all the compartments. The backpack should not weigh more than 10-20 percent of your child’s body weight.
• Use both shoulder straps. Slinging a backpack over one shoulder can strain muscles.
• A rolling backpack may be a good choice for students who must carry a heavy load. Remember that rolling backpacks still must be carried up stairs.
• Encourage your child or teenager to tell you about pain or discomfort that may be caused by a heavy backpack.
Traveling To and From School
• If your child’s school bus has lap/shoulder seat belts, make sure your child uses one at all times when in the bus.
• Check to see that no other traffic is coming before crossing the street.
• Children should always board and exit the bus at locations that provide safe access to the bus or to the school building.
• Make sure your child eats a healthy breakfast every day. Breakfast fuels the body and improves concentration.
• Review the school cafeteria menu. Pack lunch on the days when the main course is not to your child’s liking.
• Try to get your child's school to offer healthy choices such as fresh fruit, low-fat dairy products, water and 100 percent fruit juice in the vending machines.
• Each 12-ounce soft drink contains approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. Drinking just one can of soda a day increases a child's risk of obesity by 60%. Limit soda consumption.
• As we get closer to returning to school, start getting your children gradually back to their school bedtime. Children need a minimum of 10 hours of sleep a night.
• The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends children not exceed 2 hours of total screen time (TV, video games, computer) per day. During the summer this number often goes up when there’s more free time. Bring that number down now so your child can handle the transition back to school, tests, and homework.
NuHealth is a Long Island health care organization delivering essential medical care and disease and lifestyle management to everyone at every stage of life. Also known as Nassau Health Care Corporation, NuHealth is a public benefit corporation managing the operations of Nassau Medical Center, A. Holly Patterson Extended Care and a network of Family Health Centers that bring primary and specialty care out into the community. By emphasizing wellness, cultural sensitivity and collaborative efforts with the North Shore-LIJ Health System, NuHealth is working to make good care more affordable and easier to access.
For more information about NuHealth or its Centers of Care, visit www.nuhealth.net.