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Safety and Health Tips for a New School Year

Follow these great tips to start the school year off right.

I love to wake up to my local radio station telling me whose special birthday it is or what special holiday or event we are celebrating.

For those who might have missed it, August has some great ones:

August 2 was National Ice Cream Sandwich Day and I made the most of it.

There also was Wiggle Your Toes Day on August 6. (I am not even going to describe my celebration.)

For kids and moms and dads starting a new school year, there are a couple more events in August to look at carefully.

August is National Immunization Awareness Month.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention:

Children under age 6 should get a series of shots to protect against measles, polio, chicken pox and hepatitis.

Preteens and teens:

  • Preteens need shots at age 11 or 12 to help protect them from tetanus, diphtheria, whooping cough, meningitis and HPV (human papillomavirus).
  • Teens need a booster shot at age 16 to help protect them from meningitis.

You can find California’s school-entry immunization requirements here.

August is also Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month—Prevent Blindness America.

Eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in children in America, and most injuries occurring in school-aged children are sports-related, according to the National Eye Institute.

Prevent Blindness America provides the following steps to avoid sports eye injuries:

  • Never wear regular eyeglasses while playing sports as they may shatter upon impact. Only wear prescription protective sports eyewear fitted by an eye care professional.
  • Sports eye protectors should be padded or cushioned along the brow and bridge of the nose. Padding will prevent them from cutting the skin.
  • Athletes who have monocular vision, diminished vision in one eye, should always wear sports eye protectors recommended by an eye doctor.
  • All sports eye protection should have 100 per cent ultraviolet (UV) protection.

You can find tips to help prevent injury at www.preventblindness.org

PTA Health Resources

The California State PTA provides lots of resources for parents and teachers to support the health of children.

Take a look at PTA School Health Fairs. This will help your PTA organize a successful health fair for your families and greater school community. Use the extensive partner list to identify allied agencies in your community who would present and provide resources. Several nearby PTAs could host the event.

Find more resources on the California State PTA web site health page.

Carol Kocivar is the president of the California Parent Teacher Association.

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