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University of South Florida

Back to School Physical Time

Back to School

Scheduling your back-to-school checkup in a timely manner ensures that your child will be ready to kick off the new school year with confidence and good health.  Time to schedule a well child exam.

No Two Children Are Alike

Every child is unique and develops at their own pace. Some children grow at different rates, prefer different foods, or require more or less sleep. The annual wellness exam is time to evaluate your child’s progress to make sure they are getting everything they need physically, emotionally and mentally.

“The well child checkup is an ideal time to review your child’s entire health and development with their pediatrician,” said USF Health Pediatrician Dr. Meredith Plant. “We like to review their growth, nutrition, school achievements and difficulties, general behavior, and mental health. It’s a great time to discuss methods for success in the upcoming year.”

The Annual Physical Includes:
  • Examination of prescription renewals or adjustments. As children age from toddlers to teens, their needs will change as well as their medications.
  • Hearing and vision will be tested.
  • Healthy weight and height will be assessed.
  • Behavioral health is examined.
  • Immunization shots or vaccinations are updated or scheduled at this time. For more information regarding vaccines, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC).

“The school year comes with many learning opportunities, but also many infections. You should be reviewing your child’s immunizations at each visit, but especially during their checkups,” said Dr. Plant. “It’s a time to ensure we are doing everything we can to keep our children healthy so they can stay in school and get a great education.”

Every Age Group Hits Different Milestones

The annual back-to-school physical is an essential routine to ensure your child is achieving healthy milestones and maintaining good health.

It’s also a time to discuss unhealthy behavioral changes that may seem worrisome, such as:

  • Behavioral concerns at home or at school
  • Developmental issues
  • Eating habits
  • Emotional and mental health
  • Exercise habits
  • Learning difficulties
  • Safety prevention issues such as bike helmets or seat belts
  • Safety issues with driving or car riding, peer groups and substance abuse
  • Sleeping habits
College Bound kids Need Check Ups Too

If your child is college bound this may be his or her last trip to the pediatrician, as they will have to graduate to a family doctor or internist.

This last physical with their pediatrician is an ideal time to have an open dialogue on what to expect in college, and how best to approach good health practices to help send your teen out into the world armed with the knowledge of self-care. Topics may include sex, alcohol and drugs, nutrition and even hand washing practices.

“It’s a bittersweet visit for us; we have been a part of the person’s life usually for many years helping with nutrition, school guidance, safety, and achieving healthy relationships,” said Plant. “It’s a visit where we encourage them to go after their dreams but also discuss the many safety issues that come along with such a big transition.”

Even though your child is of college age they may still need more vaccinations or have their vaccinations updated.

Colleges and Universities have vaccination requirements for attendance and some are required for the dormitories including:

  • Hepatitis B
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (MMR)
  • Meningococcal Conjugate (MenACWY)
  • Polio(IPV)
  • Varicella (Chickenpox)
Student Athletes

If your child is a student athlete, or is planning on participating in the school’s sports program, a sports physical may be in order to clear your child of any health conditions or concerns that may affect your child’s safety or ability to participate.

Most schools require a sports physical for a child to take part in any sport.

To book an appointment call (813) 821-8700 or to find a location see our USF Health Pediatrics locations page. 

Make your appointment soon since offices get busy during the back-to-school rush!


USF Health Making Life Better


Written by Ercilia Colón