Getting a healthy start to the school year
School hasn’t even started yet, but parents already have homework of their own. Making sure children have the necessary backpacks, notebooks and pencils is just one task for parents before the bell rings this September. Here are some other items for parents to check off their back-to-school lists to ensure kids have a healthy and successful school year.
Buy healthy foods: Provide children with a well-rounded diet to help keep them going all day long. Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, dairy and protein are the best choices. Make sure kids don’t skip breakfast – they need that morning meal to get them going.
Keep kids moving: One hour of exercise each day helps to keep your child’s weight in check. Active kids are more likely to stay active for the rest of their lives.
Make sure they get enough sleep: School-age children need at least 10 hours of sleep a night, and teenagers need nine to 10 hours. If your child went to bed later this summer than during the school year, start re-adjusting that bedtime to get back on track.
Keep their vaccinations up-to-date: Vaccines save lives. They protect your child (and others) from many serious illnesses. In addition, state law requires children attending school to be immunized unless they get a medical or religious exemption.
Don’t overload their backpacks: Kids should carry no more than 10–20 percent of their body weight in their backpacks. They also should use both shoulder straps to distribute the backpack’s weight effectively.
Update emergency contact information: Make sure your child’s school has the best way to reach you. Keep names, addresses, phone numbers and places of employment updated on your emergency contact card.
Schedule an annual checkup for your kids: Children need to see the doctor once a year for a physical exam even if they are not sick. Annual checkups ensure children grow up strong and healthy, and give doctors the opportunity to spot any issues before they become big problems. Children should also be getting their vision checked regularly.
“The benefits of an annual exam are tremendous,” says Sanjiv Shah, M.D., M.P.H., Fidelis Care Chief Medical Officer. “Doctors make sure children are developing properly and getting the necessary immunizations.”
Children can get a free checkup every year if they’re covered by Child Health Plus (CHP), a low- or no-cost, state-sponsored health insurance program offered by Fidelis Care. Almost all children up to age 19 qualify for coverage through the program, which offers comprehensive benefits, including preventive care, vision and dental care, immunizations, care for chronic illnesses like asthma and more.
“With the responsibility of caring for the health of almost 80,000 children enrolled in Child Heath Plus, I know how important it is for children to have health insurance coverage all year long,” Dr. Shah says. “During the school year, we see more cases of children suffering from colds, sinus infections and the flu than the rest of the year. Parents can rest easy knowing their children can be seen by a doctor when problems arise, and get preventive care to help keep them healthy.”
This article was first published by NY Daily News.
Thoughts from our office…
Enrolling your children in a health insurance program is beneficial to both you and your child. Whether you choose to enroll them through a policy provided by your employer, or with a program that specializes strictly in coverage for children, such as Pennsylvania’s Children’s Health Insurance Program, there are many reasons why health insurance should be purchased before sending your kids back to school. But don’t think just because school started that you can’t enroll – if your child is eligible for CHIP, you are able to apply at any time.
Medical care is expensive. The cost of taking your children to the doctor adds up fast. Testing, prescriptions, and return visits all come with a price tag. Enrolling your child in a health insurance program can save money on routine checkups and vaccinations, and ensure the affordability of emergency medical treatment. Saving money on health care provides you with the confidence and ability to focus on other valuable services that your children need, such as protein packed school lunches, new sneakers, or even a special trip to a museum.
If you have questions regarding health insurance, for you or your children contact our team and we will be happy to help.