By the Pasco Health Department staff
As summer break comes to a close and children return to school, we encourage parents to prepare their child by considering important preventive health measures.
Keeping students healthy and safe will give them the best chance to succeed during the school year. Proper eating, adequate physical activity and good sleep patterns are instrumental to success.
Starting the day with a nutritious and balanced breakfast influences educational excellence and improved school performance. If there is no time at home, plan for breakfast at school.
Adequate amounts, a minimum of 60 minutes a day, of active play is recommended for school aged children. Physical activity is not only critical for their health, but can also impact their performance in class. It has also been linked to stronger academic achievement, increased concentration and improved test scores.
School can be challenging enough without feeling drowsy. Get an early start on returning to school time sleep patterns. Educational performance can only benefit from getting enough rest.
As children enter or return to school, it is vital for families to follow the recommended immunization schedules. Our children should be vaccinated to prevent some of the most serious diseases.
Parents should contact their family physician or their local county health department to make sure immunizations are up-to-date or to find out how to schedule an appointment to get caught up.
Even students who have graduated high school often have to get certain immunizations before leaving for college.
Whether your child walks, bikes, buses, rides or drives to school, there are preventive measures to keep him or her safe.
Be sure to speak with your children about safely traveling to and from school, which includes planning safe routes, reminding them to stay on the sidewalk or in the bicycle lane and cross the street only at designated crosswalks. It is also important to show them how to properly wear a bicycle helmet if they use two wheels to get to school.
Car travel requires age appropriate safety seats and everyone needs to be belted in. Seat belts can save lives.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a great online article about school safety that includes tips on helping kids continue practicing safety measures when a parent or guardian is not around. To read the piece, visit www.cdc.gov/Features/SafeSchools/.
Safety and prevention should be on every student’s back to school list. A little prevention will help keep our communities safe and healthy places to live.
—For more information from the Pasco County Health Department, visit www.doh.state.fl.us/chdpasco/default.html or call (727) 861-5250.
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