So your child is going to Camp! Follow these top ten tips to ensure your child has a happy and healthy summer.
1. When children show signs of illness, keep them home. This greatly reduces the spread of illness at camp. Ask your camp director about the timeframe that a child must be symptom-free before coming to camp.
2. Teach your child to sneeze and cough in his/her sleeve, and to wash his/her hands often at camp. Hand washing with soap and water should be performed for at least twenty seconds to remove germs.
3. Closed-toed shoes are a requirement for activities such as sports and hiking. This will help avoid slips, trips, and falls, which could cause injuries.
4. Send enough clothes so your child can wear layers. Mornings can be chilly and by afternoon it may be hot. This enables your child to peel his/her layers off as the weather warms.
5. Fatigue plays a part in injuries. If children are going to day camp, ensure they get enough rest at night. If children are going to resident camp, explain that camp is not like a sleepover — they shouldn't try to stay up all night!
6. Don't forget to send sunscreen with about 45 SPF, and instruct your child how to use sunscreen.
7. Send a reusable water bottle. Your child can refill it frequently during camp and stay hydrated.
8. Deciding whether or not to send your child to camp on a psychotropic medication break is a personal choice, but you should discuss your medication decisions with the camp director and your family physician. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics' Health Appraisal Guidelines for Day Camps and Resident Camps, "Elective interruption in medications (drug holidays) should be avoided in campers on long-term psychotropic therapy" (AAP, 2005).
9. Make sure you fill out medical history and authorization for medical care forms for your child. Speak with your camp director to make sure he or she has all the necessary information.
10. The American Camp Association's® parent-dedicated Web site, www.CampParents.org, provides a wide range of educational resources to help parents make good health-related decisions for children.
The American Camp Association (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,600 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit www.ACAcamps.org.