by Marianne Aiello
Now that North End children and teenagers are back at school and hitting the playing field it’s a good time to review some fall safety and health tips for kids and teens. North End Waterfront Health’s pediatrician, Dr. David Tortorella, says a few simple rules will keep everyone in the family happy and healthy this fall and winter.
Most pediatric visits in the fall are for back-to-school physicals colds, and sports injuries, Dr. Tortorella says.
“The best thing we can do to protect ourselves from colds and other viruses is to teach children to practice good hand washing and not share food and drinks,” he says. “The more you wash your hands the better you’ll be—and that means fewer days off school for kids and fewer days home from work for parents.”
Sports injuries are common in the fall because many young athletes take time off from sports during the summer and it can be a shock to the body when daily practices start back up again.
“Kids participating in sports should be sure to maintain good hydration, wear any appropriate protective equipment, and make sure their sports equipment is in good order,” Dr. Tortorella says. “It’s also a good idea to make sure last year’s equipment is in good condition and still fits properly.
It is also helpful for athletes to warm up in addition to stretching because it starts to increase their heart rate and gets their muscles moving and ready to perform.
Heavy backpacks and also cause neck, shoulder, and back pain in children and teens. To reduce strain, kids should wear both backpack straps, place the heaviest items closest to their back, and bend their knees when standing up with the backpack on. Children should carry no more than 10-15% of their bodyweight on their backs.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 617-643-8080 or visit www.northendwaterfronthealth.org.