Back-to-school checkup, sports physical, well child exam – whatever you call this appointment, now is the time of year many children and adolescents visit a clinic. Remember to:

Bring your list of questions. Involve your child in this, as appropriate for his age. Teach your child to be a smart consumer of health services.

Ask for a vision screening. Children who cannot see well tend to perform poorly in school, and often have headaches from eyestrain.

Get your 7th Grader immunized. All students entering 7th Grade should have HepA, MMR, TDap and HPV immunizations to protect them against serious illnesses such as hepatitis, pertussis and measles.

Schedule a dental exam. Oral health is part of your child’s overall well-being. A cavity is an infection in her system just the same as an infected wound. Seeing a dentist regularly can avoid painful and costly dental work on severely decayed teeth and gums.

If your child does not currently have health insurance, you may want to apply for free or low-cost insurance through the Iowa Medicaid Enterprise. Go to to apply online. If your family is over the income guidelines for Medicaid, you may eligible for hawk-i insurance. Before starting the online application process, gather together this information for everyone in your household: Social Security numbers, employer and income information, policy numbers for any current health insurance, and information about any job-related health insurance available to your family.

Finally, get to know the school nurse in your child’s school building. In addition to tending bumps and scrapes and offering sympathy for tummy aches, the school nurse is a licensed professional who can assist you with referrals and information. The school nurse also serves as a liaison between school personnel, your family, and healthcare providers.