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Front Page » August 10, 2010 » Carbon County News » For the health of it: Back to school
Published 1,532 days ago

For the health of it: Back to school


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As the summer winds down it's time to get the kids ready to go back to school. To ensure that your children have a safe and healthy school year, start by following these simple guidelines.

Sports physical

If your child will be participating in sports, check to see if your school requires permission form signed by your doctor. Your pediatrician may be the best choice to perform this sports physical, because she/he is familiar with your child's medical history.

Most physicals include basic medical information about your child's height, weight, blood pressure, heart and overall health. Your physician will also check to see if your child is up to date with his or her vaccinations.

Immunizations

Different school systems have different immunization requirements. Many school systems will not allow a child to enroll unless his or her immunizations are up to date. Now is the time to check with your school about those requirements, while there is still time to make an appointment with your family physician for any immunizations they are lacking.

Eye exam

This is the perfect time to focus on your child's eyes, and schedule an eye exam for them. A child's eyesight can change quickly. It is estimated that 5-10 percent of preschool kids and 25 percent of school-age kids have some sort of problem with their vision. This can lead to poor performance, lower grades, and frustration in the classroom. The American Optometric Association suggests that you get your child's first eye at six month's of age, followed by another one at age three years. Always get an eye exam before your child enters kindergarten or first grade, and then every two years after that.

Nutrition

Childhood obesity is on the rise. To ensure your child gets a healthy lunch, you might consider packing a healthy lunch from home, filled with healthy foods your child is sure to eat. This will help keep the pounds off, and give them more energy so they can focus during the school day. If your child eats at school, check out the lunch menu together and help them make smart choices. If your child has a special medical condition, or is taking medication, be sure to communicate this information to the school.

Early to bed

You can make the transition to an earlier wake-up time much easier if you will start putting your child to bed 10-15 minutes earlier each night starting with the week before school starts.

Backpacks

Be cautious with your child's back pack. Did you know that a backpack that is too heavy or improperly fit can cause shoulder, neck, and back pain? A backpack should never weigh more than 20 percent of a child's weight. That means if your child weighs 75 pounds, the backpack should not weigh more than 15 pounds. It should have adjustable padded shoulder straps. Make sure the size of the backpack fits your child's size. A backpack is not something a child should "grow into."

School bus safety

Last but not least, make sure you go over traffic safety rules with your child. Educate them on the importance of obeying traffic laws and to use caution especially when they are in parking lots or crossing the road. School buses are the safest way to get to school. That's right! They are nearly eight times safer than passenger vehicles. An average of 7 school-age passengers are killed in school bus crashes each year. Another 19 are killed getting on and off the bus. Most of the victims fall into the five to seven year old range. They are hit in the danger zone around the bus either by a passing vehicle or by the bus itself. The danger zone is the area ten feet on all sides including front and back of the bus.

Teach your child to get on and off the bus safely by following these important rules:

When boarding the bus, stay away from the danger zone and wait for the driver's signal. Board the bus one at a time.

When getting off the bus, look before stepping off the bus to make sure no vehicles are passing on the shoulder of the road. Move away from the bus.

Before crossing the street, take five giant steps out from the front of the bus, or until the driver's face can be seen. Wait for the driver to signal that it is safe to cross.

Look left-right-left when coming to the edge of the school bus to make sure traffic in stopped. Keep watching traffic while crossing.

As a motorist learn and follow school bus stop laws. Here are just a few rules to keep the children safe and to protect you the motorist from a tragedy.

*Vehicles must stop when the bus displays flashing and warning light and extends the stop signal arm. Vehicles may not pass until the flashing lights and signals are turned off.

*Vehicles traveling the same direction as the bus are always required to stop. In some states, vehicles moving in the opposite direction on a divided roadway are also required to stop. Know what your state laws are.

*Never pass on the right side of the bus where children either get on or off the bus. This is illegal and can have tragic results.

*Violation of these laws can result in a citation and fine. In many places, school bus drivers can report passing vehicles.

These articles are from the Partners for Community Wellness whose visions statement states "Connect people in the Castle Country with resources and opportunities to improve their health and wellness." You can access information at http://wellness.carbon.utah.gov.

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August 10, 2010
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