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Back-to-school checklist for healthy kids

From the first day of kindergarten to the first year of college, an important part of being a parent is helping your kids prepare for a productive and successful school year. While health screenings might not be top of mind during the lazy days of summer, this is actually an ideal time to schedule important health checkups. By taking care of these tasks now, kids won't have to miss class or activities once the new school year begins.

Below is a handy checklist of health-related to-dos to tackle before your kids head back to school.

  1. Confirm that vaccinations are up-to-date. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each state requires certain vaccinations for school-age kids at different grade levels, including college. In fact, some school districts require proof of up-to-date vaccinations before kids can attend classes. Be sure to check with your child's school for details. You can view the CDC's recommended childhood immunization schedule here. Annual flu vaccines are also recommended for all school-age children.
  2. Schedule an annual physical. Preventive checkups can help assess your child's overall health and give you a chance to ask your child's doctor questions or follow up with any concerns about your child's health. This is also a good time to update any prescription medications and get any required health forms signed by your child's doctor. Keep in mind that some extracurricular organizations require proof of a recent physical exam before kids can participate in activities.
  3. Schedule a fall sports physical. If your child plays sports, he or she may be required to have a pre-sports physical to determine if they're healthy enough to participate in that particular sport. A sports physical may also focus on injury prevention.
  4. Schedule an eye exam and vision screening. Just like your child's body grows and changes, their eyesight may be changing, too. Routine eye exams can check for eye conditions like nearsightedness, farsightedness and lazy eye. Addressing issues early can help ensure that your child sees clearly and is prepared to perform their best at school.
  5. Schedule a routine dental exam and cleaning. During a back-to-school dental checkup, your child's dentist will check for signs of tooth decay and gum disease. Identifying conditions like these early may help prevent more invasive — and expensive — procedures. Ask your child's dentist about healthy dental habits to work on at home, like daily brushing and flossing.

Give your child a healthy start to a new school year.

Help your child get ready to head back to school by easing back into school year routines a few weeks before the first bell rings. For instance, make the move to earlier bedtimes a few weeks before school starts. In addition, practice healthy habits like washing hands frequently and eating well-balanced meals.

Remember that you can use your CareCredit credit card to pay for primary and preventive care, dental care, vision care, lab work and more at hundreds of thousands of healthcare providers and health-focused retailers nationwide. Use the Acceptance Locator or download the CareCredit Mobile App to find a provider or retailer near you that accepts the CareCredit Credit card.

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