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Summer Edition - August 2022

The Race is on to Prepare for the Back-to-School Season

Florida families can count on KidCare to help them breeze through their back-to-school preparations – including getting required immunizations, vision screenings, dental checkups, sports physicals and more.

We’ve created a FREE, downloadable Back-to-School Countdown Guide to help Florida families warm-up for the new school year including:

  • Back-to-school readiness checklist for parents
  • Roster of required documents to enroll in Florida schools
  • Immunization schedule by age
  • Mental health resources
  • Stress management tips
  • Tips for preventing sports-related injuries and more!

For more information and to make sure your family is ready to take on the year ahead, visit

A Quick Word About


By: Olunwa Ikpeazu, M.D. on behalf of Aetna Better Health of Florida

Children are not born with adequate protection against infectious disease and vaccines are a way to provide them with that needed protection. Vaccines help the body produce natural immunity against disease which helps prevent infections that can make children very sick.

Vaccines have been in the news recently but have been around for a long time. The first vaccine (smallpox) was made in 1796 and since then, others have been successfully and safely made through testing and approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Vaccines help prevent deaths and hospitalizations each year for diseases such as hepatitis A and B, tetanus, influenza, measles, pertussis, meningitis, pneumococcal disease, chicken pox and COVID-19.

Keep your child safe by getting the age-appropriate vaccines as advised by their health care provider. 

It’s important to be well informed about vaccines. If you have concerns or questions, be sure to speak with your child’s primary care provider.

Summer is a Great Time to Take Your Child to a Well Visit

Brought to you by: Simply Healthcare Plans

It’s summertime and the start of the school year is right around the corner! Now is the time to visit your child’s doctor before the back-to-school rush.

Well visits and immunizations help keep children from getting sick. And if your child hasn’t been to the doctor for a well visit recently, they aren’t alone. During the pandemic, a lot of people couldn’t get to the doctor for many reasons.

As schools open, your child will be in close contact with other kids again. Kids who haven’t been vaccinated may get sick and spread more illnesses to other kids. By getting your child vaccinated, you are protecting both them and their classmates.

Don’t let summer pass you by — you can help your child stay on track with their appointments before they go back to school. Call your child’s doctor today to get their appointment scheduled now.

National Immunization Awareness Month

Brought to you by: The Family Healthcare Foundation

August is National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM). This is a time to highlight the importance of vaccinations for people of all ages but especially for children. Vaccines protect us from preventable diseases like chickenpox, influenza, measles, mumps, rubella and pertussis. Vaccines also help prevent spreading diseases to those that are unvaccinated.


Importance of Well-Child Visits

According to the CDC, pediatric well-child appointments are incredibly important. These routine check-ups and preventative health measures, especially while the child is at a formative age, can help prevent serious illnesses from occurring through recommended immunizations. The CDC states that well-child visits are essential for “tracking growth and developmental milestones, discussing any concerns about your child’s health, and getting scheduled vaccinations to prevent illnesses.”1 Parents who have barriers to taking their children to their well-child visits or immunizations, have children that are at greater risk of developing preventable illnesses.2


How The Family Healthcare Foundation Can Help

The Family Healthcare Foundation’s Healthcare Navigators provide free, unbiased and confidential application and enrollment assistance for publicly funded healthcare programs, such as Florida KidCare, which covers vaccines for free. The Healthcare Navigators will provide continuing supportive services to find medical providers and healthcare services in the community. Through the Connecting Kids to Care Program, a subset of the children assisted by the Healthcare Navigators at the Children’s Board of Hillsborough County Family Resource Centers are followed and prompted to attend their pediatric well-child appointments and receive their vaccines.




Which Shots Does Your Child


Brought to you by: Children's Medical Services Health Plan

No one likes to get shots but they can protect against viruses. The shots your child needs depend on their age and health. Talk to your child’s doctor about which vaccines are right for them.

Some vaccines protect for life. Others are needed once a year. See the list below to read about some of the most common vaccines your child may need.

Chickenpox Vaccine: If your child has had chickenpox before, they could get shingles as an adult. There are vaccines available for both.

Influenza (flu) Vaccine: Reduces your child’s risk of getting the flu and spreading it to others. The flu virus changes often, so everyone 6 months and older should get a flu shot every year.

HPV Vaccine: Protects against HPV, or human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer.

MMR Vaccine: Knocks out measles, mumps and rubella with one shot.

Td/Tdap Vaccine: Protects against Tetanus (lockjaw), diphtheria and whooping cough.

Meningococcal Vaccine: Protects against disease caused by bacteria, which can lead to life-threatening infections, like meningitis.

Have questions about vaccines? The best person to ask is your child’s doctor. If you need help finding a doctor for your child, or have questions about their benefits, call Member Services at 1-866-799-5321 (TTY 711). Someone is available to help Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET.

Don’t forget: Children enrolled in the CMS Health Plan can earn rewards for healthy behaviors through the My Health Pays program. They’ll get $20 on a Visa Prepaid card for getting both the Tdap and Meningococcal vaccines.

Visit for more information.

Partnering with Your Child's Primary Care Provider

Brought to you by: Community Care Plan

Literacy is the ability to read and write. It also means having knowledge about a certain subject. In school, kids learn how to read, write, do math and more. One thing they don’t learn about is health literacy or how to help make decisions about their health care.

While the internet is a great place to find information, too much can be overwhelming and the information may not be reliable. Your child’s Primary Care Provider (PCP) is a great resource and your partner in managing your child’s health.

The following tips can help make that partnership better.

Before any office visit, write down your questions or concerns to make sure you don’t forget anything when you see the doctor. 

Stay focused on the visit. Turn off cellphones and if you have other children, have someone watch them. 

Be specific. If your child had a fever last night, what was their temperature? Even if your child is not sick, if there is a concern or symptom you’re worried about, let the doctor know.

Before you leave the visit, ask for more information or instruction for things that you discussed that weren’t clear. These could be things like how to give your child a new medication. Don’t be shy, ask!

These are just a few tips to help you build a better relationship with your child’s doctor and create a partnership to improve your child’s health and wellbeing.

Keep Your Child in the Game with Up-to-Date Immunizations

Florida requires* certain vaccines to be administered before your child may enroll and attend school. These required immunizations and more, like the flu shot and COVID-19 vaccine, are available to Florida KidCare families for free.

Download a list of required back-to-school immunizations and visit for more helpful information for parents and teachers. 

*Exemptions are made if immunizations are in conflict with the religious tenets and practices of the child’s parent or guardian. Exemptions are issued by the county health department and based on established religious beliefs or practices only.

Fact: Cavities are 100%


Brought to you by: Liberty Dental Plan

Have your child brush with toothpaste your dentist recommends. Brush their teeth at least twice a day for two minutes. When they can brush on their own, still monitor to make sure they are brushing correctly.


Children need to floss their teeth every day. Flossing removes bacteria between your child’s teeth (where a toothbrush cannot reach). Ask your dentist for help and instructions on how to floss your child’s teeth effectively.


Mouthwash or rinsing can reduce your child’s risk for cavities as well. Your child can swish with water or use an alcohol-free mouthwash, especially after meals.


Visit your dentist regularly. Make sure your child gets professional teeth cleanings and regular oral exams every six months. 


Have your child drink water. This may seem simple but monitor your child’s water intake because it not only helps their body but their oral hygiene. Water flushes acids and food from the mouth reducing bacteria.


Avoid sugary snacks and drinks. Sugary foods and beverages create bacteria and acids in your child’s mouth. The buildup can destroy tooth enamel and lead to cavities. If your child eats or drinks sugary snacks, make sure you have them rinse with water after.


Eat nutritious and balanced meals. Foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables increase saliva, which help balance the acid in your child’s mouth. Healthy foods have less sugar which means less sugar bugs (bacteria) sitting in their mouth. 

Early Detection Means Effective Prevention

By: Dr. Amber Bonnaig, DDS

on behalf of DentaQuest

Did you know caring for baby teeth is just as important as caring for permanent teeth? Tooth decay can begin as soon as that first tooth grows in, usually around six months of age. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain and infections, and even result in serious problems that affect eating, speaking and learning.

Fortunately, with proper care, tooth decay is preventable. Start by instilling good oral health habits at a young age. The following are dental health best practices for parents and caregivers.


Schedule your child’s first appointment before they are a year old. Through early-childhood appointments, dentists can spot tooth trouble early on, clean teeth and apply cavity-preventing dental sealants.

Once teeth appear, brush immediately — Once a child’s teeth grow in, start brushing your child’s teeth twice a day using a kid-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride. Once children can brush on their own, parents should supervise and direct their children not to swallow toothpaste.

Drink fluoridated water — Check your community’s water system to see if your tap water is fluoridated. If the community does not have fluoridated water, consult your dentist or a health care professional about alternative ways to get fluoride.

Caring for young kids means juggling so many things but following these tips can help ensure children have a solid foundation of good oral health as they grow.

Protect Your Child's Smile with Dental Sealants

Brought to you by: MCNA Dental

Your child’s back teeth are at a higher risk of tooth decay. Studies show that nine in ten cavities occur in the back teeth (molars). Most cavities start in the pits and grooves of a child’s molars where food and germs can get stuck. Germs in the mouth use the sugar in food to make acids. These acids weaken teeth and lead to tooth decay.

Dental sealants help to stop decay before it starts. Sealants are a thin plastic film painted on the chewing surface of the teeth. They serve as a barrier that keep germs and food out. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry report that dental sealants can prevent 80% of cavities. The best time for children to get sealants on their back teeth is as soon as their permanent teeth come in. Sealants are a painless way to fight tooth decay during the cavity-prone ages of six to 14 years old. 

Remember preventive care is the best dental care - Don’t wait! Call for your child’s dental checkup today. 

Keep Your Kids Safe: Know the Signs

Overdose deaths involving opioids, including prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic opioids, like fentanyl, have increased by more than eight times since 1999. Overdoses involving opioids killed nearly 69,000 people in 2020, and over 82% of those deaths involved synthetic opioids.

It is important for parents to recognize the signs of an overdose and know how to respond quickly. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 3 out of 5 overdose deaths had at least one potential opportunity to link people to care before the fatal overdose or to implement life-saving actions when the overdose occurred.

Learn how to spot an overdose and visit for more information. 

Children's Eye Health and Safety Awareness Month

August also is Children's Eye Health and Safety Awareness month. Make sure your child practices healthy vision habits and schedule a screening if you suspect they are having difficulty seeing. 

One in four children has a vision problem and 60% of children with learning difficulties have a vision problem.

Download this free vision screening to find out if it's time for your child to visit the eye doctor and check out for more helpful back-to-school resources.


Contact Florida KidCare

1-888-540-KIDS (5437)

Monday – Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (ET) |

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