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Jun 02, 2023

Back-to-school season means different things for everyone. Whether your kids are starting out in kindergarten, heading into their freshman year, or going off to college - there are some things you should keep in mind.

Kids grow up fast! There are some routine vaccines that will need a booster dose as your kids grow. Check with your healthcare provider to see what vaccines they may need as they head into the new school year.

More information on immunizations can be found on our website here.

Planning is a great way to make sure your kids get what they need. Asthma Action Plans can help school staff and teachers know what to do if your child has an asthma attack. The ODH asthma program has more details and templates available for your use.

It’s important that all children have their hearing and vision tested regularly to give kids the best chance at learning. Vision and hearing screenings will be administered by the school to all children in preschool, kindergarten, first, third, fifth, seventh (vision only), ninth, and eleventh grade as required by state law. If your child is suspected to have hearing or vision problems, the school nurse will send additional information home.

Use food to fuel brainpower! School lunches provide one-third of the nutrition kids need for the day, enough to keep them going for the classroom! Aim for the same goal when packing their lunch. Offer a variety of fruits, vegetables, and proteins that your kids like to eat. When packing lunch, keep food safety in mind to prevent foodborne illnesses. Insulated, soft-sided lunch bags with two ice packs are best for keeping food cold. More tips on USDA website.

A lot of kids walk or bike to school. It’s important to have a safe route planned! Use sidewalks or paths that are separated from busy streets, if possible. Always walk on the side of the street facing traffic and try to minimize the number of streets you need to cross. If a bike the go-to choice of transportation, make sure to protect growing brains with a well fitted, bicycle appropriate helmet.

Some students may be heading back to school with emotionally heavy backpacks. Remind your kids that it’s okay to ask for help and be ready to respond when they do. Warning signs to look for: watch for changes in behavior, things like being withdrawn, tantrums, or loss of interest in things that they usually do. If you notice changes, it’s important to reach out to your child’s healthcare provider. You can also connect with a free, confidential counselor by calling or texting 988.

Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine – the same addictive drug in regular cigarettes and cigars. If you know, or find out that your child is vaping, there are free options to help them quit. The Ohio Tobacco Quitline (1-800-QUIT NOW) sponsored by the Ohio Department of Health offers the "My Life My Quit" program specifically for young people.