3 Ways to Keep Kids Healthy Before Heading Back to School

Pediatrician moms and dads share their top tips on how to avoid germs and stay well in the months ahead.

A special group of 99 pediatrician moms and dads to weigh in on health issues and offer real-life advice. This month, we asked members to share the single most important piece of wellness advice you should take to heart as kids gear up to go back to school in a post-COVID world. Here’s what they had to say.

Stick to Your Annual Checkups

Yes, even during a pandemic. Well visits are more than just a chance to look at your child’s height and weight. They are a vital opportunity to survey your child’s development, offer intervention for concerns, and provide scheduled immunizations, says Katherine Trier, M.D., a pediatrician in Boston. However, recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that many children, particularly those ages 2 and up, missed receiving vaccinations during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. While doctors understand that you may feel nervous about entering a medical facility now, the CDC notes that it’s critical for kids to get immunizations for vaccine-preventable diseases on time, especially as social-distancing requirements relax. “Vaccinated children protect not only themselves but also their communities by increasing herd immunity,” explains Dr. Trier.

Rest assured that offices are taking more precautions than ever. “Because we know the coronavirus is more likely to spread with prolonged face-to-face contact, we are trying to minimize the time that families are in the office,” says Dr. Trier. At her clinic, medical histories are taken over the phone from the car, and parents and children are asked to wear a mask when they enter the office. If you’re concerned about safety precautions at your own clinic, talk to your doctor.

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