Congratulations! You’re halfway through summer with the kiddos. If you’re starting to dread the never-ending pool days, summer reading, and backyard games, we have great news for you—it’s time to start planning for back to school! While the idea of the kids returning to school may be music to your ears, we understand that it can feel overwhelming too.
Luckily, we’re discussing the most important back-to-school necessities to put at the top of your list—checkups. In this blog, the experts at Medical West
explain the importance of a back-to-school checkup and at what cadence your kids should see a physician. Start your school year off on the right foot with Medical West!
What Are Back-to-School Checkups?
As a parent, we know your to-do list is packed, so adding something else to the list isn’t always ideal. But we’re here to encourage you to prioritize your child’s health and well-being amidst the hustle and bustle of your everyday routine. With a quick checkup, you can ensure your child’s health and discourage any illnesses as they return to an exciting, often germ-filled, year of learning and fun.
During your child’s back to school checkup, you can expect a few basics like immunizations, physical and developmental exams, and more. Let’s take a closer look at some of the things you and your pediatrician may discuss.
Immunizations are one of the best defenses against developing certain illnesses. Vaccines work by jump-starting your immune system, so your child can produce antibodies to fight pesky ailments like measles, whooping cough, and chickenpox. If your child is entering kindergarten, a few vaccines may be required for school admission.
We recommend checking with your school’s administration about specifics. Usually, we recommend the following immunizations, including Diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis) (DTaP)
, Polio (IPV), Measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Chickenpox (varicella), and Influenza (flu) every year. If your child is between 11 and 12, it’s time for the Meningococcal conjugate vaccine, HPV vaccine, Tdap, and another Flu vaccine. Additionally, the COVID-19 vaccine is approved for children over six months.
If this feels overwhelming, we understand. We recommend making a list and speaking with your pediatrician about each vaccine. You can learn more about each immunization’s benefits and ensure you have the proper school documentation. You can also check out the CDC’s immunization schedule here
to stay on track.
We’ll take your child’s height and weight at the back-to-school checkup. With this information and a physical exam, we can evaluate your child’s growth and development against the typical growth curve. If you have any questions about your child’s developmental milestones, this is a great time to discuss them with your pediatrician.
Like a developmental exam, a physical exam is an integral part of their checkup. Your doctor will evaluate their ears, throat, eyes, lungs, and more. If additional testing is needed, this checkup is a great time to do so. Additionally, if your kids plan to participate in sports, they’ll probably need a sports physical, which ensures it’s safe for your child to take part in sports. Your doctor can complete any necessary paperwork and address any concerns, so your child can shine on the sports field.
Social & Emotional Health
As adults, we know our health and well-being go beyond just physical aspects. The same is true for your child! The years in school are when kids develop many key personality traits, encounter new people, and learn more about the world around them. During your back-to-school visit, your child can ask any questions about the upcoming school year, and we can explain what to expect socially and emotionally in your child’s development.
Your pediatrician can help you and your child develop a back-to-school routine. We often stray from our usual school schedule during the summer, making it hard to roll out of bed on those early mornings. We can make sleep schedules, diet, and more recommendations, so you and your child can smoothly transition back to school.
Additionally, if your child routinely takes any medications, like Asthma medication, your pediatrician can refill any necessary prescriptions at this visit. We can also discuss dosages and any future changes that may need to be made.
How Often Should A Child Get A Checkup?
Once your child is above three, we recommend a checkup once a year. Back to school is the perfect time to check this off your list and promote a healthy lifestyle ahead of the school year. It’s important to note that checkups are much different from sick visits, and if your child isn’t feeling well, don’t hesitate to bring them in at any point for diagnosis and treatment.
Start Your Child’s School Year Happy & Healthy
As you prepare for back to school, we encourage you to put a checkup with your child’s pediatrician at the top of the list. Followed by school supply shopping and one last visit to the pool, of course.
By crossing off your kiddo’s checkup before the school year, you can minimize other visits and encourage your child’s overall health and well-being. At Medical West, we’re back-to-school pros! We can get you and your child in and out of our office as soon as possible so that you both can get back to what’s left of the summer fun.
Need to Schedule a Back to School Checkup? Call Medical West!
Proudly serving Birmingham, AL, and beyond, we are you and your child’s ultimate destination for health and wellness. We offer back-to-school checkups, sick visits, and more—all at a convenient location. Visit medicalwesthospital.org to find a doctor and schedule an appointment today!