At LittleGuide Detroit, we want to make life easier for parents – which often times includes sharing cool new destinations – but it also includes sharing helpful information about the best resources for your family. So we’ve partnered with DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan to tackle the top health, wellness, and safety topics each month.

Kids are back in school and their health, wellness and safety is top of mind for all parents. So we spoke with Chief of Pediatric Medicine at DMC’s Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Dr. Banu Kumar, to help answer all of our ‘back to school’ questions and concerns, with tips to keep your kids healthy and safe this school year.

Invest in a good backpack

Kids are carrying a heavy load and a quality backpack can help prevent back injuries.

What Dr. Kumar says: “Tell kids to wear both straps on their backpack, especially if they have heavy books. If they only use one strap they could start complaining about back pain.”

Establish a bedtime routine

After a year at home, when rolling out of bed and onto a Zoom call was normal, kids now have to adjust to traditional schedules and more physical/mental demands. They can best handle it when they’ve had a good night’s sleep.

What Dr. Kumar says: “Go to bed on time, get a good night sleep. 8 to 10 hours or 10 to 12 hours for little kids.”

Schedule a Wellness Visit

Doctors are seeing patients at at DMC Children’s Hospitals of Michigan clinics and in-person, schedule your child for a check-up.

What Dr. Kumar says: “Make sure your child gets their hearing test and vision test. The child may not be performing well if they can’t see. Make sure they don’t need glasses and can hear well.”

Get a Flu Shot

Most years, hospitals see kids admitted with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus) during the colder months, but DMC Children’s Hospitals of Michigan are already seeing patients this year. Be vigilant where you can and get the flu shot to prevent illness.

What Dr. Kumar says: “You can get a flu shot for children over 6 months old. When kids get flu shots it protects them from getting the flu. Keeping children safe from conditions and illnesses that are protected by vaccinations is the right thing to do – you want to keep your children safe.”

The biggest question on parents mind this year is, is it a cold or COVID? Here’s what Dr. Kumar says:

With the common cold, you’ll have a runny nose, with COVID, the most common symptom is a cough, congestion and running nose. We really can’t differentiate if it’s a cold, virus or COVID. If symptoms persist, if you’re worried, or if there was a possible exposure, then you’ll want to get tested. 

Wear A Mask

It’s not always fun, but wearing a mask is an easy way to prevent the spread of illness in our community.

What Dr. Kumar says: “Masks are going to protect them. Kids cough, sneeze, talk and laugh and when they do that, respitory droplets come out of them, travel and can infect others.  Just putting on a cloth mask offers protection and helps prevents the droplets from reaching others.”

Mental Health Matters

Wellness includes your mental and physical health. DMC’s Children’s Hospital treats both. You don’t have to be an adult to talk with a therapist and sometimes that can help children process their emotions and perform better in the classroom.

What Dr. Kumar says: “Talk to your child about anxiety. Ask them if they are nervous about going back to school. We were not able to do a lot of things during the pandemic and it can effect different kids in different ways. Get kids the right help so they can open up and talk about it. Address concerns so they can focus on school and not worry about the mental side of things.”

Learn more about DMC Children’s Hospital of Michigan, or call 313.745.KIDS to find a physician near you.