An annual health checkup with your pediatrician is very important, and scheduling your checkup prior to school starting is a great time to do so.

Besides addressing any current health concerns, annual health checkups are important for building a medical history. Having a detailed medical history on file with your pediatrician allows them to track the child’s developmental progress and detect any potential health issues. They also help to ensure your child’s immunization record is up to date.

As a parent, you should also take advantage of these annual checkup to discuss any concerns you have with your pediatrician, such as nutrition, emotional issues, development, illnesses, vaccinations, etc. Bringing these to the attention of your pediatrician allows them to track and address them as soon as possible. Something may seem small to you, but it is always a good idea to discuss them with your pediatrician rather than ignore them.

A typical annual or back to school checkup with usually involve the following: check vital signs, blood pressure, growth measurements, eyesight and hearing screenings, and making sure vaccinations are up to date. Also, early flu shots are sometimes available at this time.

Back to school checkups are also a good time to discuss potential food allergies with your pediatrician. Although most school cafeterias are very careful about the food they serve, you should check with the school to make sure everything they serve is ok for your child to eat.

If your child does have food allergies it is a good idea to let the school nurse know and make sure they have the proper items (ie EpiPen for opening airways) on hand to handle a potential food allergy emergency. It is also recommended that you discuss with your child not to share food with friends because they may have bring food that your child is allergic to.

Another thing to be aware of is the potential injuries that can occur from heavy backpacks. Overloaded backpacks can cause back problems for children, so periodically check the weight of the backpack to make sure it is adequate for your child. The American Chiropractic Association recommends that the backpack not weigh more than 10% of the child’s body weight.

Before going back to school it is also a good idea do have an annual eye and dental checkup for your child.