By this time, your child's backpack is full of every pencil, binder and folder he or she needs to be successful in the classroom. But among the erasers and stickers, stocking their backpack with a few health essentials can keep your kids safe and healthy all year long. Krystal Trinkle, CRNP, pediatric nurse practitioner at LVPG Pediatrics-Pennsburg, shares her must-haves for every child's backpack:
First, choose your backpack wisely
“I really like roller backpacks because they keep weight off the body,” says Trinkle. “Too much weight on the back and shoulders can cause pain.” If your child isn’t into roller backpacks, Trinkle recommends finding a size-appropriate backpack (one that is not oversized) that will offer more support.
1. Small refillable water bottle
“This is an easy way for kids to get more water while at school and prevent dehydration, Trinkle says.
2. A healthy snack bar (or two, or three!)
Keep a non-perishable snack bar in case hunger strikes. “Pay attention that it fits with your child’s school allergy policy (usually no-nuts),” Trinkle says.
3. Laminated personal information card
“This is critical in case of emergency or if your child gets lost,” Trinkle says. Getting it laminated will keep it safe from spills. The card should have the following information:
- Full name
- Home address
- Emergency phone number
- Chronic diseases (like asthma, diabetes, etc.)
- Medication they take
- Any major allergies
4. Hand sanitizer
It’s no secret that school is filled with germs. Trinkle suggests keeping a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your child’s backpack, and to encourage them to use it before eating lunch.
5. Tiny first-aid kit
Trinkle suggests keeping this in case of an accident (or paper cut), but it doesn’t need to be fancy. She suggest stocking it with just 2 things: a couple bandages and a couple packets of triple antibiotic ointment.
It’s not just a summer staple! For the school year, skip a spray sunscreen and pitch a sunblock that spreads on easily. “Spray sunscreen can easily get in eyes. I suggest a zinc oxide-based sunscreen with an SPF 30 and above.”