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Ask Our Expert, Children's Health

Back-to-School Health Tips for the 2023-2024 School Year

Back-to-School Health Tips for the 2023-2024 School Year

A healthy start to a new school year starts with a visit to your child’s doctor. Dr. Katherine Piwnica-Worms, Assistant Vice President, Pediatrics at NYC Health + Hospitals, offers eight back-to-school health tips to help you prepare your kids for a healthy year.

Back-to-School Health Tips for the 2023-2024 School Year

  • COVID-19 Readiness
    Vaccines are a safe and effective way to protect children and their communities from COVID-19. Children aged 6 months and older should get their first vaccine dose and be fully vaccinated before school or daycare starts.
  • Other Vaccinations
    Vaccines are necessary to help protect children and others against disease. In New York City, all students must get their age-appropriate vaccinations in order to attend child care or school. Check the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website to find the latest information on vaccine requirements for your child. You can also find more details by visiting the NYC Department of Education website. NYC Health + Hospitals also offers the HPV vaccine for all children, adolescents, and young adults starting at age 9 years. The vaccine against HPV is highly recommended and can help prevent certain types of cancer.
  • Flu Shots
    The flu is a contagious illness that infects the nose, throat, and lungs and can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications, especially for children. Every child six months or older should get the flu shot once every year. Flu season changes every year but can start as early as October and usually peaks between December and February.
  • Annual Physicals
    To support your child’s back-to-school health, make sure they visit their doctor every year. Yearly physicals are important to ensure children are growing and developing properly.
  • Vision and Hearing Tests
    Children should have their hearing and vision routinely tested with their doctor from infancy through high school. Watch for signs of hearing or vision loss and talk to your child’s doctor if you notice any changes.
  • Nutrition
    You can help your kids make healthy food choices – even at school. Encourage them to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. When eating bread or pasta, choose 100% whole grain products. Encourage them to choose water, not juice or soda. Check out this nutrition resource guide for parents that has information for you and fun projects and activities for kids to learn about nutrition.
  • Routines
    Consistent routines help keep children alert and productive during the school year and can be a life-saver when it comes to avoiding problems at bedtime. Afterschool routines should include consistent after school activity and homework schedules, TV time, dinner schedules, and bedtime routines.
  • Sleep
    Adequate sleep helps keep kids focused each day at school and is important for their health.

These back-to-school health tips will help you and your family return to the classroom safely and confident in your health. For more information on navigating COVID-19 this fall, review the rest of our COVID-19 resources for all New Yorkers.

Establish Family Health Care with NYC Health + Hospitals

NYC Health + Hospitals offers expert pediatric and adolescent health services at little or no cost.

To make an appointment for your child’s annual physical or find out more information on where to get a COVID-19 vaccine for all New Yorkers aged 6 months or older, call 1-844-NYC-4NYC or 1-877-VAX-4NYC.

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