“For many, the focus is on back to school clothes and supplies,
which is important,” said Jay Kaplan, MD, FACEP, president of the
American College of Emergency Physicians. “But it’s equally, if not
more important to also take time to schedule routine doctor visits
(for more information) and to make sure that your child’s health
information is all organized.
Here are a few things you should do now.
- Organize your child’s medical history records and emergency
medical contact information.
- Complete a consent-to-treat form and give copies to the
school nurse and any day care providers to keep in your child’s
record and to take with them if your child should need to go to
the emergency department. The form will allow caregivers to
authorize medical treatment. The form should include information
related to prescription medications, medical problems, or
previous surgeries as well as pertinent family history and
emergency contacts. Free forms can be downloaded at
An emergency information form is also available for children
with special needs.
- Coordinate with the school nurse and your child’s physician
to develop action plans for any health issues, such as asthma or
food allergies. Communicate these plans to all appropriate care
- Schedule medical and dental check-ups before school starts.
Some children will need immunizations. Consider vision and
hearing tests, since impairment can adversely affect learning.
Consider a sports check-up if your child will be playing in
- Review and do a dry run with your child of his or her route
to school, explaining potential hazards along the way. If your
child walks to school, make sure he or she understands potential
- If your child takes the bus, establish a safe, visible pick
up/drop off spot, preferably with a group of children and in an
area where they can be clearly seen by adults. If your child
drives to school, make sure he or she obeys all laws and wear
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- Make sure your children know how to telephone for help. Post
emergency contact numbers by every telephone in your home. Have
them practice how to call 911 or the local emergency number and
give their names address and a brief description of the problem.
- Develop a family emergency plan in case something happens on
the way to (or from) and while at school. Be aware of the
emergency and evacuation plans for your children’s schools.
School children are not only heading back to classrooms in a
few weeks but they’ll also hit the athletic fields as well to
participate in school sports. Find out from emergency physicians
here about what they are seeing inside their emergency
departments and what your children should do to protect
ACEP is the national medical specialty society representing
emergency medicine. ACEP is committed to advancing emergency
care through continuing education, research and public
education. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, ACEP has 53 chapters
representing each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the District
of Columbia. A Government Services Chapter represents emergency
physicians employed by military branches and other government
[Michael Baldyga, American College Of