Immunizations your child needs for kindergarten

by Baylor Scott & White Staff on August 19, 2015

in Parenting

btsIf you are enrolling your kindergartener in public school, there is a good chance you will be asked for proof of your child’s immunizations. Public schools require children to be immunized for the child’s protection as well as the protection of their classmates and teachers.

Jamie Avila, MD is a pediatrician with McLane Children’s Scott & White, now a part of Baylor Scott & White Health. She visits with parents and children in Killeen, TX and shares some facts about immunizations.

Immunizations Needed for School Environment

Dr. Avila says the school environment is a unique because you have a large group of people who interact closely for a majority of the day.

“It is an ideal environment for an illness to spread quickly,” says Dr. Avila. “Any illnesses which the children may pick up in the school will then be brought home with them and spread to their close family members and so on. Having children in school immunized is a first line defense for protecting against more widespread illness.”

Although there are a few exceptions, the majority of children attend school. Dr. Avila points out that if we make sure these children are vaccinated, it allows us to enhance our herd immunity.

Recent Stir about Immunizations

Dr. Avila says she is frustrated that there is a debate of any sort surrounding immunizations. Although she is open to parents and patients wanting to educate themselves on health issues, she says many are looking in the wrong places.

“I love questions from parents because my goal as a pediatrician is for families to know just as much about disease processes and illnesses as I do,” says Dr. Avila.

Asking about Immunizations to Keep Kids Safe

If you are still on the fence about immunizations, talk to your doctor. Many doctors will give you an overview of each vaccine along with an explanation of what the disease they are aiming to prevent can cause.

“I also let them know quite clearly that I wouldn’t give anything to their child that I wouldn’t give to my own or that I wouldn’t be willing to receive myself,” says Dr. Avila.

See Your Doctor on Schedule

Vaccines are usually given at well child visits when your child is young.

“The first four to five years of a child’s life before they enter kindergarten is my opportunity to ensure that the right guidance is happening because they are seeing me so frequently for their well child checks,” says Dr. Avila.

Dr. Avila ensures all children get the best possible start in life. From their first checkup she empowers them with information about nutrition, milestones, safety hazards and vaccines. She says it is important to stay on schedule with well child check-ups because the years pre-Kindergarten are critical for a child.

“It is particularly important to keep up with the regularly scheduled well child checks in the first five years of life because that provides your pediatrician with an opportunity to evaluate your child at critical points in their development,” says Dr. Avila.

Not only will you be able to evaluate your child’s physical health, but also his behavior, emotional health and general development. This will help you keep an eye on any warning signs and detect conditions early to improve treatment outcomes.

Additionally, if children miss their well child checks, they may miss out on important vaccinations. Some vaccines aren’t recommended to be started or continued beyond certain ages.

The bottom line is planning for kindergarten happens long before enrollment time. Be sure your child has the required immunizations listed by Texas law, to get a good start to kindergarten and keep everyone safe and protected.

“As a pediatrician I have made children my life,” says Dr. Avila. “I believe I have a huge role, and a duty, to keep our children safe.”

Visit our website for more information about immunizations and well child checkups or read our short blog series, Vaccines: Fact and Fiction.

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