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School Newsletter Tips - October

Cannabis Legalization 
Cannabis is set to be legalized October 17th for people over 19 years of age. Your child may have questions about cannabis use. It’s never too early or late to start the conversation.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when talking with your child:
• Be first, be right, be credible
• Use simple, plain appropriate language
• Use technical terms rather than slang terms
• Be objective: neither stigmatizing or normalizing
• Do not use scare tactics
• Start at an early age
• Talk about cannabis harms
• Abstinence is the only way to avoid all harm
• Go into more depth at approaches aimed at reducing harms
For tips on how to start the conversation check out the Cannabis Talk Kit.
If you want to learn more about the effects of cannabis use during adolescence check out the 4 part online learning module The Effects of Cannabis Use during Adolescence.
Menu planning 
The school season can be very busy with after school activities which can make meal planning a challenge. Planning ahead can allow for the whole family to be involved in the planning and cooking. Plan to have a fruit or vegetable with each snack or meal. Benefits can include lower food costs and a stress-free meal time.
Walk to School Month
October is International Walk to School Month. The health unit can help out with activities like a walking school bus or iwalk, iwheel events. Visit Active & Safe Routes to School for list of events and activities.
Immunization is mandatory when in school!
Immunizing children is one of the most important ways to promote their health. The Immunization of School Pupils Act (ISPA) is a law ensuring that all school students are immunized for the following diseases: Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis, Polio, Measles, Mumps, Rubella, Varicella and Meningococcal Disease.
Public Health Nurses review all students’ immunization records to make sure that everyone is up-to-date. Immunizations are provided through school clinics, health unit office appointments and physician offices. For more information contact your local health unit office.
Do One Thing, then One More
Fall is a great time to enjoy nature and colors. Try one new thing with your family. Find a fall 1k walk in your community; visit a new local playground and run around with the kids, sign up and try a new sport or club. 
Preventing influenza
Flu shots are important for your whole family. Almost 30% of the confirmed influenza cases in our region last year were in children under 10. It is important for you and your children to get vaccinated against the flu to stay healthy and keep others healthy too. Anyone 5 years of age and older can get their flu shot from the pharmacy – no appointment needed. You can also visit our web site to book an appointment at the health unit or call 1-866-468-2240 for more information on flu shots.
Pack Your Child a Teeth Friendly Lunch       
Vegetables, fruits, and cheese make great snacks! Avoid packing foods that are sugary and sticky as they can cause damage to the teeth. Milk and water are the best drink options. Pop, juice and fruit drinks have a lot of sugar, which can lead to cavities.
Send your child to school with a healthy lunch and snack foods…their teeth will thank you! Having a hard time deciding what to send to school? Contact your local Health Unit or visit our web site for lunch and snack ideas!
Be Prepared
Are you prepared for an emergency? Get prepared as a family by creating an emergency plan together. Teach your children what to do in the event of an emergency like a fire, blizzard or tornado. It is recommended that you have an emergency kit with enough supplies for at least 72 hours. Items to consider including are:
·         Water (At least 2 liters per person per day)
·         Non-perishable food
·         Manual Can Opener
·         Flashlight and batteries
·         Battery powered or wind-up radio
·         First Aid Kit
·         Cash
·         Identification
·         1 comfort item per child
·         Pet supplies
Sun Safety
Looking for ways to get involved at your child’s school? If the school grounds have very few trees or built shaded areas, consider talking with your school council or principal to see if there is interest in planning for sun safety and shade development. Children spend a lot of time outdoors at school. By creating a sun safe environment, we can help protect children, staff and parents from the sun’s harmful rays. Ask your school if they have a policy on sun safety.
Halloween Safety Tips
  • Costumes should be light-coloured with reflective strips
  • Children must keep away from open fires and candles(costumes can be extremely flammable)
  • Costumes should be short enough to avoid tripping
  • Use face paint rather than masks or things that will cover the eyes
  • Remind children to walk on sidewalks, not in the street
  • Trick-or-treat along one side of the street first and then the other
  • Bring along a flashlight
  •  Visit homes that have the porch light on
  • Remind children not to eat their treats and goodies until they are examined by an adult at home.