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Most schools are planning on a return to familiar routines this fall after the recent COVID-19 pandemic disruptions. The outlook looks brighter because of COVID-19 vaccine and booster eligibility for children ages 5 and up, lower infection rates in our communities and effective treatments. However, it’s remains important to take necessary steps to protect your child’s health. One key to this is a back-to-school physical exam with your child’s primary care provider.

“The back-to-school checkup is often the only visit many kids and teenagers have with their doctor every year,” explains Brown & Toland pediatrician Ted Handler, MD, of East Bay Pediatrics in Berkeley and Orinda. “This visit gives the doctor the opportunity to perform a thorough physical exam, and to screen for emotional, developmental or social concerns.”

quote and headshot of Ted Handler

Dr. Handler suggests booking this appointment as early as possible to beat the back-to-school rush, and to prepare a list of questions or topics to discuss.

“A lot of parents might not think they have much to say before this visit, but you’d be surprised how much comes up. Make sure to talk to your pediatrician about your child’s development, behavior, dietary habits, activity level and getting along with others,” said Dr. Handler. “Depending on your child’s age, you might also ask about issues like peer pressure, social media use, alcohol and drugs, sexual activity, depression and appropriate training for sports or other physical activities.”

To find a Brown & Toland pediatrician near you, visit our Find a Doctor tool.