Methodist McKinney Hospital Provides Their Expert Advice
We can hardly believe that the summer is coming to an end and kids will be heading back to school (if they haven’t already). Whether you’ve been preparing for this moment for weeks or are just starting to think about it now, we have collected four easy ways to make sure kids have a safe and healthy start to the 2018-2019 school year.
Make Sleep a Priority
Did you know that most healthy children need eight to 10 hours of sleep each night? Sleep is equally as important as diet and exercise, which means it is important to get kids into a healthy routine. Children (and adults) lose sleep due to overuse of digital devices, we advise that all electronic devices are put away at least one hour before bedtime. A snack before bedtime can be beneficial, as long as it does not contain caffeine. We also suggest that you avoid hot showers, warm baths or exercise right before bed as they can negatively impact a good night of sleep.
Buy the Right Backpack
Backpacks have become a huge fashion accessory, but we cannot lose sight of the issues that can arise from a bad backpack. Poorly designed backpacks can give backpacks can give a kid a backache, cause pain in the neck or shoulders, and poor posture. Did you know that back injuries send thousands of kids a year to emergency rooms and physician’s offices with sprains, strains and fractures? In order to avoid this, we suggest the following tips:
- Ensure the backpack has TWO straps (on top of that, make sure your kids are utilizing both to support the weight of their backpack)
- Ensure the backpack has several pockets/compartments in order to distribute the weight more evenly
- Ensure the backpack straps and back of bag are padded
Note: The weight of a loaded backpack should never exceed 10% of the child’s weight. For example, if you weigh 100 pounds, your backpack shouldn't weigh more than 10 pounds.
Spine Surgeon, Cameron Carmody, MD talked to us about backpack weight and its effects on children and their spines. "Heavy backpack loads can be associated with an increase in the curvature of the lower spine and disc compression, all resulting in back pain," said Dr. Carmody.
Teach Proper Hygiene
We all know that you can’t prevent your child from coming in contact with a contagious illness; however, you can minimize the chances by ensuring your child understands proper hygiene. With school starting soon, kids will come in contact with more people and objects, meaning more germs! The most important preventative step a child can take starts with good hand hygiene. Unfortunately, only about 5% of people wash their hands correctly. Let’s go over proper handwashing techniques:
- Place soap on hands
- Get water running (warm or cold)
- Lather hands, ensuring not to miss between fingers and under fingernails
- Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds
- Dry hand using a clean and dry paper towel
Schedule Physicals and Immunizations
Back to school time can get pretty hectic and it is important not to forget to schedule physicals with a family medical doctor and to ensure your child is up to date on all vaccinations. Vaccinations, including the flu shot, can keep your kids from getting sick throughout the school year—ensuring they don’t miss out on their education and that you don’t spend too much time away from work.
We wish you all a happy and safe 2018-2019 school year. Methodist McKinney Hospital is a proud sponsor of McKinney Independent School Stadium so perhaps we will see you at one of the football games this season. Go team!
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