A Simple Lesson in Keeping Your Kids Healthy and Safe at School
Keeping Brooklyn Healthy

A Simple Lesson in Keeping Your Kids Healthy and Safe at School

It’s that time of year again. You’ve gotten your kids all the notebooks, calculators, backpacks, pencils, pens and other school supplies they’ll need. You’re boning up on your math and state capitals so you can help the little ones with their homework. But making sure they’re healthy and safe is probably the best way to equip your children for success in school.

Here are some simple tips to make sure your kids are prepared for another great year.

Have your child’s vision screened. Have your child’s vision tested before they start kindergarten and annually until age 18. If your child wears glasses, be sure the prescription is current. And, if your child wears glasses and participates in sports, consider wraparound sports glasses that are polycarbonate and unbreakable.

A slit-lamp, which is a specialized magnifying microscope, is used to examine the structures of the eye (including the cornea, iris, vitreous, and retina). The slit-lamp is used to examine, treat (with a laser), and photograph (with a camera) the eye.

Have your child’s hearing tested. Most states now mandate hearing tests for babies but many school age children haven’t been tested. If your child listens to TV or music at a very loud volume or tends to favor one ear over the other in conversation, it may be a sign of hearing loss.


The ear consists of external, middle, and inner structures. The eardrum and the three tiny bones conduct sound from the eardrum to the cochlea.

Check for head lice. If your child has been scratching his or her scalp since camp ended, she or he may have contracted lice. Examine your child’s head yourself or have the school nurse or your pediatrician check for you. Head lice won’t go away by itself and can be treated with over-the-counter remedies.

Head lice infect the scalp and hair and can be seen at the nape of the neck and over the ears. Head lice spread easily and quickly but do not carry disease as other lice do.

Make sure immunizations are up to date. The last thing you want is for your child to be turned away from school because they’re not properly immunized. If you’ve recently moved from another state, check to see if your child meets New York State regulations. Also, new immunizations such as Hepatitis B are now required. Check with your child’s pediatrician. 

Immunization is a process to initiate or augment resistance to an infectious disease. The goal of immunization is to prevent, and in some cases eradicate, potentially serious, life-threatening diseases.

Make the school aware of your child’s special needs. Ensure the school has up to date information about any physical impairments or medical conditions your child may have, including allergies. If your child receives medication on a regular basis for diabetes, asthma or another chronic problem, school nurses and teachers must be made aware of your child’s needs, especially if they administer the medicine.

Be sure they eat well.  Studies show that children who eat breakfast are more alert in class. Also, be sure your child has a balanced, nutritious lunch, whether it’s one you send or one provided by the school cafeteria. If your child is permitted to bring a snack, avoid junk food and focus more on fruits and other healthy food.

Monitor their mood. Most children are anxious about the new school year, and it usually takes them takes about a month to adjust to new situations. If your child is still anxious and apprehensive after a few weeks, let their teacher know so you can pinpoint the source of anxiety and work out a solution.

Tell your school immediately if you suspect a learning disability. If you think your child is having problems processing information, speak to the teacher or the learning center in their school. Your suspicions should be conveyed to the school as soon as possible.

Keep emergency phone numbers up to date. Make sure the school has your current contact information on file so the school and your child can reach you or another caregiver at all times.

Make sure they have dental checkups. Regular dental exams should begin by age three. If your child hasn’t had her or his teeth examined before starting school, now is a good time.

Healthy teeth and gums are essential to a child's overall good health. Without proper dental care tooth decay and gum disease can lead to serious problems such as cavities and gingivitis, swollen and bleeding gums. Regular visits to the dentist, brushing twice each day, and flossing, are ways to help maintain a healthy mouth.

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