A Short Guide To The Ins And Outs Of Regular School Physicals

The ultimate goal for school physicals is to ensure that your child is healthy and safe for the coming school year. Annual visits are a great way to monitor the health of your child, and they offer plenty of insight into the growth statistics and help track a child's height, weight, health as well as protecting them against any serious illnesses.

Why Are School Physicals Important?


School physicals refer to general wellness checkups that most schools require before students are able to enroll and participate in sports and other activities.

A school physical gives doctors and parents a chance to monitor the student’s developmental aspects and address any emotional, physical, behavioral or other concerns they may have (ex. chronic medical conditions or acute conditions that could affect a child's progress).

These visits are also an excellent opportunity to get caught up on vaccinations and are a good time to talk to a medical professional about any eating difficulties or sleep problems a child might have.

Why Do I Need To Provide Medical History During School Physicals?

A patient’s medical history is essential for the overall decision-making by the doctors. The kind of questions they are likely to ask include:

  • Whether there are any severe illnesses in the family
  • Whether the child has ever been diagnosed with conditions such as diabetes, asthma, etc.
  • Whether there have been previous surgeries and hospitalizations
  • Whether there have been any past injuries
  • Whether your child has ever passed out, had chest pains, felt dizzy, or had trouble breathing during an exercise routine
  • Whether they are currently on any medications

What Am I Required To Bring?

When bringing in your child for a physical for school, please bring in any medical forms that the doctor will need to fill out. If your child wears any contacts/ glasses, or hearing aids, please bring these in.

What Does It Include?

A school physical includes the following;

  • Record child’s current height and weight
  • Check vitals - blood pressure, heart rate, etc.
  • Check child’s hearing and vision
  • Check lungs, heart, ears, abdomen, throat, and nose
  • Evaluate child’s joints, posture, flexibility, and strength

Throughout this screening process, the doctor will keep parents informed of anything that may be a cause for concern and may require further evaluation.

How Do School Physicals Differ With My Child’s Age?

School physicals are similar at every stage of your child’s age. Please see the following during each stage:

  • For Kindergarten and Preschool-aged children, ensure that their vaccinations are up-to-date before they start school. This is the ideal age for them to learn about what to expect at doctor's visits and bring up any questions.
  • For Elementary-Age children, teach them how they can be healthy and be in tune with their bodies. Many them are excited to learn how much they have grown since the last visit.
  • For adolescents going through different body changes from about age 11-15, the doctor will carefully discuss changes that are happening to their bodies and answer any questions they may have. Adolescence is a time for growth spurts and puberty changes.

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