Parents are stocking up on clothes, equipment and supplies ahead of the new school year—one item, however, may have slipped to the bottom of their to-do lists: their child(ren)’s health.
“For many, the focus is on back-to-school clothes and supplies, which is important,” says Dr. Jay Kaplan president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), “but it's equally, if not more, important to also take time to schedule routine doctor visits and to make sure your child's health information is organized.”
Parents still have time to get their child(ren)’s health in check, Kaplan says. According to ACEP, parents should:
• Schedule the child’s medical and dental check-ups before school starts. Consider vision and hearing tests, since impairment can adversely affect learning, and a sports check-up, if needed.
• Organize the child's medical history records and emergency medical contact information.
• Complete a consent-to-treat form* for the child and provide copies of it to the school nurse or day care provider.
• Coordinate with the child's physician and school nurse to develop action plans for issues such as asthma or food allergies.
• Review and practice with the child his or her route to school, explaining potential hazards along the way. Establish a safe, visible pick-up/drop-off area, preferably with a group of children.
• Post emergency contact numbers by every telephone in the home, and ensure the child knows where to locate them. Have the child practice how to call 911 and give his or her name and address, and a brief description of the issue.
• Develop a family emergency plan in case an incident occurs on the way to or from and while at school. Be aware of the emergency and evacuation plans for the child's school.
*To download a free form, visit www.emergencycareforyou.org/Be-Prepared/Organize-Your-Important-Medical-Information.
Source: American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)