Summer camp allows children to make new friends and gain new experiences that build confidence and an appreciation for the outdoors. Unfortunately, when children are away from home, parents are unable to monitor behavior and habits to protect their health. Here are some tips for protecting your children’s health while they are away at camp this summer.
Be honest on camp forms
Be sure to thoroughly list all of your child’s health issues when filling out camp enrollment forms. Whether your child has diabetes, severe allergies, asthma or ADHD, you want the camp counselors to be aware. The more detailed you are about a child’s individual health, the better the camp’s medical staff will be able to cater to his or her needs.
Verify immunization policies
The vast majority of summer camps require parents to show proof of immunization, but there are always some exceptions. The American Camp Association recommends that parents get their children vaccinated against measles and other common contagious diseases. Be sure to stay in the know about specific camp policies.
Encourage good oral hygiene
With all the outdoor fun and new social experiences, it can be hard for kids to remember to brush and floss every morning and night. Be sure to explain the importance of proper hygiene to your child. You may also want to schedule a cleaning and exam immediately after summer camp ends so you can ensure good oral health before the start of the school year.
Children are often reluctant to voice concerns or speak up about their needs. Teach your child to advocate for his or her health and well-being while at camp, especially since you won’t be there to help. Roleplay different scenarios to make your child feel more comfortable and confident when specific situations arise.
Focus on fitness
Most summer camps include rigorous outdoor activities, including hikes, swimming, sports and games such as capture the flag. In the weeks before camp begins, encourage your child to engage in cardiovascular activities that build strength and endurance as well as ready to play outside and stay social.
Don’t take chances with medications
If your child regularly takes medicine for an existing health issue, be sure they have enough medication. Avoid switching medicines immediately before camp begins and make sure camp nurses and staff members know about your child’s medications and how they should be administered.
Get acquainted with the staff
Take the time to introduce yourself to key camp personnel, including nurses, cabin leaders and counselors. This will give you a chance to give insight into your child’s unique needs and let the staff know you will be paying close attention to your child’s well-being.