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Avoid the September Shock: Scheduling Children’s Back-to-School Medical Exams

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Avoid the September Shock: Scheduling Children’s Back-to-School Medical Exams

Dr Appt
Parents should always bring their children for back-to-school physicials, no matter how healthy the child appears to be at the time. 

– Transitioning back to school is as much of a process for parents as it is for kids. While parents may be overwhelmed buying school supplies, Dr. Jill Creighton, Medical Director of Ambulatory Primary Care Pediatrics,

Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

, says scheduling annual medical appointments is something parents need to cross off their end-of-summer to-do lists.


Dr. Jill Creighton, Medical Director of Ambulatory Primary Care Pediatrics, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

Annual Physical

During the yearly physical, physicians will record your child’s height and weight, blood pressure and pulse. In addition, the physician will also check the heart, lungs, abdomen, skin, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, teeth and throat of the child to ensure that your child is health and that nothing needs further attention.  These physicals also typically screen the child for scoliosis, hernias and level of physical maturity according to expectancy for his or her age group. Your child’s reflexes, fine-motor development and gross-motor development may also be evaluated.

“Your physician will often review the medical history of both your child and your family to detect patterns for chronic illnesses and diseases that may run in the family,” says Dr. Creighton.  “In addition your physician will discuss any previous or current illnesses that the child had or has. They will also ask about medications your child takes or has taken, ranging from prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, and herbal supplements.”


Most states require students in Pre-K through 12th grade to be vaccinated according to the state immunization guidelines and proof of vaccination should be turned into school officials.

In New York, the Meningitis A vaccine is now required as of 2015.  Students must receive a single dose to enter seventh grade and receive a booster — or the first dose if they didn’t get it — after the age of 16.  The Meningitis B vaccine is not required but it’s available and recommend for 16 year-olds and older, especially those going to college.

“Students cannot enroll in school without an immunization record,” says Dr. Creighton. “The immunization schedule includes vaccines such as hepatitis A, chickenpox booster, meningitis vaccine and often flu shots are recommended.”

Eye Exam

1 in 4 U.S. children will go back to school this year with an undetected vision problem that could impact their classroom performance.  A comprehensive eye exam, preferably right before school starts, is the best way to make sure students have a clear eyesight for seeing the board, reading books, and writing notes.  

Dental Checkup

Dr. Creighton says dentist visits should be biannual to ensure that children are in good dental health.  A painful tooth or chronic dental problem can lead to difficulty in eating, speaking and concentrating. Children with chronic dental pain may not always voice their problem, but may appear anxious, depressed or tired if problems are not treated.  

Preparticipation Physical Evaluation

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all students who will play sports complete a Preparticipation Physical Evaluation (PPE) to promote the health and safety of the student athlete.The PPE provides the medical background on which physical activity decisions will be made by the individual athlete’s physician or the team physician and associated medical staff.

For more information from Dr. Creighton, click





About Stony Brook Children’s Hospital

With 106 beds, Stony Brook Children’s Hospital is Suffolk County’s only children’s hospital. More than 8,000 children and young adults are discharged each year. Stony Brook Children’s has more than 160 pediatric specialists in over 30 specialties. The hospital is Suffolk County’s only Level 4 Regional Perinatal Center and has a Level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. It is home to the nation’s first Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Center and also offers a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Program, Pediatric Cardiology Program, Pediatric HIV and AIDS Center, and Cystic Fibrosis Center. To learn more, visit


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