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Put good health on your child's back-to-school checklist

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(HealthDay News) -- Parents should include medical checkups, updated health records and safety training on kids' back-to-school checklists, a group of emergency physicians advises.

"We all know about reading, writing and arithmetic. Let's consider adding a fourth 'R' for parents -- establishing routine healthy behaviors," Dr. Paul Kivela, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), said in a college news release.

"Now is the perfect time to catch up on doctor visits and update your child's health information. Taking these actions, before an emergency occurs, can help avoid a trip to the ER and possibly save your child's life," he said.

The ACEP says:

Organize your child's health history records and emergency medical contact information, and complete a consent-to-treat form, which authorizes medical treatment. Give copies to the school nurse and day care providers. List prescription medications, medical problems, previous surgeries and family history.

If your child has a health condition, such as asthma or food allergies, work with the school nurse and other care providers to develop action plans.

Take your child for medical and dental check-ups before school starts, or as soon as possible. Also consider vision and hearing tests, and a sports check-up if your child is involved in athletics.

If your child walks to school or to a bus stop, review the route with them and highlight potential hazards.

If your child drives to school, stress the need to obey all laws, wear seat belts, and not to text while driving.

In addition, ACEP says, ensure your child knows how to call for help in an emergency. Teach him or her when to call 911 and to give the operator their name, address and brief description of the emergency. Emergency contact numbers should be posted next to all telephones in the home.

More information

There are more helpful tips at the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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