Back to School Tips from Dr. Jay

Back to School

Written by Jay Heitsman, MD

It's time to go back to school. Dr. Jay Heitsman wants you to remember a few important points to keep your child safe this year.

Don't let your child’s backpack get too heavy. I recommend that backpacks never weigh more than 10 or 20 percent of your child’s body weight. Choose a backpack with wide padded shoulder straps and a padded back. It might be tempting but don't purchase backpacks on wheels for grade school children; these have caused many tripping injuries. Instruct your child to always wear both straps over their shoulders, wearing only one can cause neck and back strain.

The first day of school is stressful for kids. Remind your child that they are not the only student who is a bit uneasy about the first day of school. Point out the positive aspects of starting school and all of the new things they will learn and experience this year. Reinforce last year's positive memories if they are nervous. Always be sure they get plenty of sleep and healthy food to eat, everyday of the year. The benefit of adequate sleep cannot be underestimated.

Keeping our school children safe is important to all of us. Reinforce with your children that they should never to talk to strangers. Do not put their first name on their backpack allowing a stranger to call them by name. Teach them to report any suspicious people that they see around the school grounds. In addition to "stranger danger", bullying is another important subject we need talk to our children about. Help your child respond to bullying by teaching them not to be afraid to report this behavior. Tell them to walk away, ignore the bully and tell a school authority.

If your child bikes to school be sure they wear a helmet. A helmet can reduce the risk of a head injury by 85 percent. Teach your child – whether walking, biking, or riding the bus to school – to obey all traffic signals.

Let’s all work together to keep our kids safe!


Dr. Jay Heitsman is a Pediatrician. He sees patients at Medical Arts Clinic in Fairfield. Call 641-472-4156.