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Getting Back-to-School Ready

Posted by on Jul 26, 2018 in Wellness

Before school starts, check your child’s immunization records and buy a properly fitting backpack.

The end of summer vacation can be an adjustment for parents and kids alike. Sutter Health Plus wants to help everyone prepare for the new school year—it’s almost here, believe it or not.

Ensuring your child gets vaccinated according to the recommended immunization schedule is an important step you can take to protect your child’s health. Vaccinations can help prevent illness from spreading among those not vaccinated and vulnerable groups—such as babies, or people with weakened immune systems due to cancer and other health conditions.

Sutter Health Plus covers a variety of immunizations at no additional out-of-pocket cost to members. This includes routine immunizations for children and adolescents (and adults, too) as recommended by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Contact your child’s pediatrician for an appointment.

Whether it’s a baby starting at a new child care facility, a toddler heading to preschool, a student going back to elementary, middle or high school—or even a college freshman—you should check their child’s vaccination records.

State law requires children to be immunized against specific diseases. The California Department of Education publishes a complete list of immunizations required for school entry. If your provider offers My Health Online, you can check your child’s immunization records from your mobile device, laptop or tablet.

Children can also get shots at network pharmacies and Sutter Walk-in Care clinics, depending on availability and supply. Visit the Sutter Walk-In Care page for locations, scheduling and hours. Be sure to log these shots in your child’s immunization record. Ask the front desk for a printed visit summary and immunization record to provide to your child’s doctor if they do not use the Sutter Electronic Health Record.

Another back-to-school safety essential: the right backpack. While your child will probably choose one based on looks, it’s important to prioritize health when shopping for a backpack. A properly fitting backpack used correctly may prevent pain and injury. For best health, kids should wear backpacks the right way and at the right weight. Too heavy a backpack for your child can cause problems like back and shoulder pain and injuries. Ideally, the total weight of a loaded backpack should not exceed 10-15 percent of the child’s weight.

Avoid preventable injuries this school year by following this helpful guide to backpack safety.

  • Do: Choose a backpack with padded back and shoulder straps, multiple compartments, lumbar support and a waist belt.
  • Don’t: Let your child wear a backpack narrower and shorter than their torso.
  • Do: Pack the backpack with heavier items closest to the back.
  • Don’t: Overload a backpack. Kids should leave unnecessary items at home or school and drop heavier books at their lockers throughout the day.
  • Do: Wear both shoulder straps—and the waist belt—at all times. Tightening the straps will distribute the weight across your child’s back.
  • Don’t: Ignore any pain. Encourage your kids to tell you about any arm or leg pain, numbness or tingling. It may indicate an overweight backpack or poor fit.
  • Do: Check with your child’s teacher about textbook alternatives to minimize backpack loads during the day. Many schools offer options like digital or paperback textbooks, extra copies of textbooks to keep at home, day use desks and lockers.
  • Don’t: Use a backpack on wheels. Rolling backpacks are hard to use in crowded hallways and can be a tripping hazard, according to the American Chiropractic Association.

Sources — American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, American Chiropractic Association, California Chiropractic Association, National Safety Council