Preparing your child to head back to class, sports, and activities after the long summer break goes beyond just purchasing supplies. It’s just as important to make sure your child’s health needs are met, to catch any potential issues and prevent school-related injury. Here, HSS pediatric orthopedic surgeon Shevaun Doyle, MD, offers tips for parents to help set their kids on the right course for a healthy school year.
Heavy backpacks are a common cause of back pain in children (though they do not cause scoliosis, as some believe). A 2019 study at HSS found that one in three young people ages 10 to 18 had experienced back pain during the previous year. When choosing a backpack for your child, consider the following:
Schedule an annual physical exam with your child’s pediatrician around the same time every year. This exam will include a scoliosis screening as well as sports clearance if your child will be participating on a school or club team. If you have a family history of scoliosis, you should inform your pediatrician. The sports screening can identify any medical or musculoskeletal conditions that need to be addressed before the start of the season and help keep your child safe.
Most preseason training for school sports begins in August to prepare for the start of the regular season in September. This usually consists of two or more weeks of intensive conditioning. Many injuries, like sprains, strains, and stress fractures, occur during this time of transition from a less active summer to a high level of activity. Encourage your child to work these three tips into their pre-sports routine to reduce their risk of injury: