Many parents have fond memories of going to summer camp when they were young – fun activities, exciting adventures, and making new friends. To help their own children have the same pleasant recollections when they grow up, parents can take steps to ensure a safe and healthy camp experience.
But before suitcases are even packed, children need to have all vaccinations up-to-date. Parents should ask a doctor or nurse if they are not sure which vaccines are recommended for summer camp and check ahead of time about the type of physical their child may be required to have to attend camp. Any special needs or allergies should be clearly marked on the camp application or physical form.
Parents can talk with their children about staying safe at camp. This may include warning children not to swim alone or if they have diarrhea, which can cause many water-borne illnesses. Children also should watch wild animals from a distance and not try to pet them since many animals carry diseases that are dangerous to people, such as rabies. A helmet, life vest or other protective gear can be packed if the camp does not provide them.
Parents should encourage children to stay hydrated while at camp. Children shouldn’t wait until they feel thirsty, but instead drink plenty of water or non-carbonated, sugar-free fluids throughout the day. Children also need to wear plenty of sunscreen and insect repellent to protect against sunburn and bug bites. Kids also should stay hydrated, rest in the shade, and wear layers of light-weight, light-colored and loose-fitting clothing to prevent getting over-heated.
For a few more tips on preparing your child for sleep-away camp, visit the free, online health library on the Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake website at www.DoctorsHospitalDallas.com/SummerCamp.
Doctors Hospital at White Rock Lake