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The importance of back-to-school physicals for kids
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The importance of back-to-school physicals for kids

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Summer gives children and parents a well-deserved break from the hectic, school-year routine.

It’s also the time to schedule your child’s annual physical — well before the rush of back-to-school preparations are in full swing. In fact, routine health screenings are one of the most important steps you can take for your school-age children.

A back-to-school wellness exam goes far beyond getting your child’s doctor to sign a permission card to meet school or WIAA requirements for participating in organized sports.

Annual checkups matter

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends annual exams for children and teens ages 5-18 years.
  • A wellness exam allows your child’s doctor to do a thorough medical checkup, make sure immunizations are up-to-date and discuss any developmental or health issues your child may be facing.
  • By updating your child’s medical history each year, your pediatrician gains a greater awareness of your child’s progress and development. This helps the doctor detect any problems that may be emerging.
  • The annual exam is your opportunity to ask your child’s doctor for advice and information on important topics like proper nutrition and exercise. Plus, your doctor will counsel you on other important safety and injury prevention topics: age-appropriate use of booster seats, seat belts, bike helmets and sunscreen.
  • Back-to-school checkups are the only time some children, especially teens, will see their health care provider all year.
  • On the topic of adolescents, a yearly checkup is a chance for the doctor to talk with your teen about making healthy lifestyle choices: avoiding drugs, tobacco products and alcohol and knowing the risks of sexual activity. Your pediatrician may also ask specific questions to screen your teen for depression.
  • Addressing any physical or emotional issues early on can have a positive impact on how well your child will adjust to the new school year and perform in the classroom.

Finding the right doctor matters

During their school-age years, children go through a period of rapid growth, learning, exploration and emotional and physical development. To ensure continuity and the best medical care, your child should have a primary care physician.

Put simply, it’s important to find a trusted doctor who will develop a long-term relationship with you and your child and carefully monitor your child’s health year by year.

A primary care physician is also a valuable resource for you, because you’ll have a reliable place to ask questions and discuss any concerns about your child.

As a parent you routinely do many things to help keep your children happy, healthy and safe. Scheduling a health maintenance exam can go a long way toward that end.

Dr. Amy Swift-Johnson is a family medicine physician at Aurora Health Center in Union Grove, 4320 67th Drive, Union Grove, 262-878-1211.

A back-to-school wellness exam goes far beyond getting your child’s doctor to sign a permission card to meet school or WIAA requirements for participating in organized sports.

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