FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 03, 2014
HHC Pediatricians Share 10 Tips for "Back to School" Health
HHC Hospitals, Community Health Centers and Child Health Clinics Offer Back to School Physicals, Immunizations and other Wellness Services for Kids and Adolescents at Little or No Cost
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Bronx, NY– As parents and kids across New York City get ready for the new school year, the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) reminds Bronx residents to follow ten tips for "back to school" health and to visit any HHC primary care center or child health clinic in the community to receive needed physicals, immunizations and other wellness support available at little or no cost.
"Preparing kids for the new school year should start before their first day and remain consistent throughout the year," says Heather Lawsky, MD, Pediatrician at North Central Bronx Hospital. "Getting kids on a regular sleep schedule, starting the day with a good breakfast and limiting foods with added sugars such as cookies and ice cream, will help kids be productive and focused in the classroom."
HHC offers parents 10 health tips to help kids get ready for a new school year:
1. Annual Physicals: Yearly physicals are important to ensure children are growing and developing properly. Physicals should start at birth and continue into early adulthood.
2. Vision and Hearing Tests: Children should have their hearing tested before starting school, and vision exams starting at 6 months of age. Parents should watch for signs of hearing or vision loss and consult their child's pediatrician right away for testing.
3. Flu Shots: Flu vaccination is recommended every year for everyone over 6 months of age. The flu is dangerous to children and sometimes results in death.
4. Childhood Vaccinations: Vaccines are necessary to help protect children and others against disease, and often required for children to attend school. Common immunizations for school-aged children could include meningitis, Tdap (Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis), measles, mumps, rubella, polio, chicken pox, and HPV. Talk to your pediatrician to determine which immunizations your child needs and how often. Visit the NYC Department of Education for a full list of immunization requirements.
5. Nutrition: It's important to help kids make healthy food choices that include five servings of fruits and vegetables each day and limit added sugars found in candy and juices. Starting the day with a good breakfast may help kids focus better in school and be more productive.
6. Sleep: Adequate sleep helps keep kids focused each day at school. Preschoolers typically require 11-13 hours each night and children aged 5 to 12 need about 10-11 hours of sleep. To keep a consistent sleep schedule kids should sleep in the same room each night and TV should stay out of the bedroom.
7. Routines: Consistent routines help keep children alert and productive during the school year. Afterschool routines should consist of a healthy snack before homework, at least an hour of physical activity, no more than two hours of TV or video games, and at least eight hours of sleep each night.
8. Physical Activity: Parents should encourage their kids to do a variety of activities each day to keep them active. It's recommended that kids get 60 minutes of play with moderate to vigorous activity every day to maintain a healthy weight.
9. Street Smarts: Kids need to be reminded about pedestrian safety. Review the importance of stop, look and listen when crossing the street, being alert and not distracted while walking, and always make sure children are accompanied by an adult walking to and from school.
10. Limited Screen Time: It's easy for kids to go overboard with the amount of time spent in front of TV, computers, and video games. Parents should monitor the amount of time kids spend in front of the screen and limit it to no more than two hours each day.
Talk to your child's pediatrician if you have questions about your child's health or immunization status. To locate health services near you visit www.nyc.gov/hhc.