Back to School Health & Safety: NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Physicians Provide Tips for Preparing Children to go Back to School

Aug 1, 2017

Queens, New York

The summer season is winding down, and now it is time for families to prepare their children to go back to school. Dr. Joseph J. Abularrage, chairman of the Department of Pediatrics at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, offers the following tips to prepare children for a healthy, happy and safe school year.

“Children will perform better at school when they are rested, active and eating a healthy diet,” said Dr. Abularrage. “Here are a few late summer lifestyle changes that may prepare your children for a safe and productive school year.”

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens’ Pediatric Department provides the following health tips concerning health and wellness, nutrition, your children’s sleep schedule and the safe use of backpacks.

Health & Wellness

1. Keep your children active. Experts recommend about 60 minutes of vigorous to moderate intensity activity a day for a growing child. This is an easier goal during the summer season when there is abundance of free time. Try to keep your children moving with organized activities or even a neighborhood stroll. If you can, stay active with your child to promote your own wellbeing.

2. Schedule a physical exam for your child. Schedule an appointment with your child’s physician prior to the beginning of the school year. This can ensure that your child is up to date on his/her vaccines. If your child is an athlete, you can also set up a sports physical, so your child can join their team and get the exercise s/he needs. Finally, if your child is on medication, talk to your doctor about a plan to administer medicine during the school day if needed.


3. Make sure your child eats breakfast. Students who eat a healthy breakfast perform better in the classroom. It is important that every child eats three nutritious meals a day and, most importantly, does not skip breakfast. A hungry child may lack the necessary concentration for his/her school work.

4. Check the school lunch menu to avoid allergies and unhealthy decisions. If your children have allergies, make sure to check the school’s lunch menu to avoid triggering a reaction. Take the time to make sure your child’s teachers, the school’s administration and the school nurse are made aware of any allergies. Check the school lunch menu. If it does not meet your family’s nutritional needs, be sure to pack your child’s lunch.


5. Keep to a consistent sleep schedule. During the summer, children tend to fall asleep and wake up at later times. As the summer comes to a close, gradually alter bed times until your child is used to his/her school year sleep schedule.

6. Put away mobile or tablet devices before bed. Smartphones and tablets emit “blue light,” which gives our body a false signal that it is morning. This can make it difficult to fall asleep.


7. Make sure your child wears their backpack properly. Make sure your child uses both straps on their backpack. Using just one strap of a backpack can put stress on the body. This could lead to lower back pain or poor posture.

8. Monitor the weight of your child’s backpack. Make sure your child is not carrying too much in his/her backpack. If you think your child is carrying too many books home, talk to your child’s teachers on ways to reduce the load.


NewYork-Presbyterian Queens

NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, located in Flushing, New York, is a community teaching hospital affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine, serving Queens and metro New York residents. The 535-bed tertiary care facility provides services in 14 clinical departments and numerous subspecialties.  Annually, 15,000 surgeries and 4,000 infant deliveries are performed at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. With its network of affiliated primary and multispecialty care physician practices and community-based health centers, the hospital provides approximately 162,000 ambulatory care visits and 124,000 emergency service visits annually.  

Media Contact:

Ryan Carbain 212-843-8492