NEW YORK, August 22, 2022 – Children’s Health Fund (CHF) today released “My Health Passport”, a handy tool families can use over the school year to track their children’s vision, dental, and mental health as well as other conditions—such as asthma—that can affect classroom performance.
The 12-page booklet—chock full of practices that support a child’s health and wellness at home and school—was created by Healthy and Ready to Learn (HRL), an initiative CHF launched in 2014 to help families overcome health barriers to learning. In addition to the printed content, the passport provides easy access to supplemental information on the HRL website. Scanning QR codes embedded throughout the guide with a smartphone camera will open pages on the website that contain corresponding information.
Designed to be used by both parents and children, “My Health Passport” covers the following:
The page on vision lists tell-tale signs of possible problems, such as redness or tearing of the eyes, trouble paying attention, headaches or eye pain, taking longer than expected to complete homework, and squinting or sitting too close to the TV.
Similarly, the dental care page identifies causes of cavities, including eating too many sweets or sticky food, drinking too much soda or juice, failing to brush, or not getting regular cleanings by a dentist. Another section details potential triggers of asthma attacks and advises on when flare-ups might require a visit to the emergency room.
The section on mental health lists questions parents can ask their children about how they feel. For example, “What color do you feel like today? Can you tell me why?” It also advises parents to talk about their own feelings with their children to make it easier for them to discuss their emotions.
The tool also can be used to record past and upcoming visits to doctors and dentists and to determine whether immunizations are up to date.
Isolina Davila, an HRL Fellow and mother of school-age children, calls the tool “a total lifesaver.” She says that “having all the necessary information at my fingertips to keep better track is a game changer.”
Each page of the guide is colorfully illustrated to keep kids engaged. Also, some pages contain sections where children can fill in information, such as the name of their health clinic and school nurse, as well as their date of birth. The guide also can be used to record past and upcoming doctor’s visits or days absent from school because of illness.
“Children have been through a lot over the past two years—including social isolation and lack of continuity in schooling—because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why keeping them healthy and ready to learn is more important than ever this back-to-school season,” said Arturo Brito, MD, MPH, CHF president and CEO. ‘My Health Passport’ helps families monitor their children’s health so they can have a healthy school year.”
Healthy and Ready to Learn is a partnership between CHF and elementary schools in all five New York City boroughs. It is a comprehensive school-based approach to promoting good health in children that incudes health services, technical assistance, an online resource and training center, and local and national advocacy efforts.