The Importance of a Back-to-School Checkup

Pencils, erasers, glue sticks and a new backpack have probably made this year’s school shopping list. But what about a visit to the pediatrician? Even if your child has a clean bill of health, don’t sideline their annual physical.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, an annual checkup is just as important for your child’s health as a doctor’s appointment when they’re sick. That’s because instead of focusing on solving an issue like strep throat, pediatricians can take time to ask broader questions about your child’s health habits, including vaccination history.

An essential part of these summer doctor’s visits is to ensure your child is protected against diseases and illnesses that can easily be spread in a classroom. To protect against outbreaks at schools, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) recommends students at public and private schools be up-to-date on the following immunizations:

  • Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis (DTP or DTaP)
  • Polio
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella
  • Hepatitis B
  • Meningococcal
  • Varicella (chickenpox)


The MDCH also recommends following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s immunization schedules. Blue Care Network’s Guidelines to Good Health provides additional information about vaccine recommendations and schedules.

In addition to going over vaccination records, the pediatrician will evaluate your child’s hearing, nutrition, developmental milestones and overall behavior. They may also look for any skin, stomach or joint problems. While the important thing is for your child to go once a year to the pediatrician, scheduling it for the same time school starts makes it easier to remember to make an appointment.


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