Can Children with Food Allergies Go to Summer Camp? Yes!
Childhood memories of those adventurous days at summer camp are still some of the best times many of us have about growing up. However, some kids may be excluded from that enlivening childhood experience because they have food allergies. Very often, parents avoid events such as summer camp just as they warn their food-allergic child to avoid the problem food. But, things are looking up, thanks to the awareness efforts of parents, doctors, organizations, schools and yes – summer camp organizers.
For the nearly 6 million children in the U.S. with food allergies, it’s not only important, but critical that summer camps have established food allergy policies. Throughout the country, there are more than 12,000 day and summer camps that provide a wonderful experience for enrichment, socialization and downright good fun.
Make sure that your camp has a written food allergy policy in place that ensures staff members are trained to care for children who might experience food allergy reactions while at camp. Having epinephrine readily available as well as staff members who know how to administer it is crucial.
Here are some important questions to get answered by the summer camp you select:
- Who is the primary healthcare person and what are their credentials? Who is responsible for their duties in this person’s absence?
- How does camp communicate and monitor food allergy information? Is this sufficient for your child?
- How far is the camp from a medical treatment center?
- What trips might the camper take that change the response time?
- Do travel personnel have sufficient medication to provide a margin of safety?
- What limits a camp’s ability to care for your child?
- Are first line staff and counselors trained to recognize food allergy reactions and know how to respond?
- Is the camp’s cook knowledgeable and cooperative regarding food substitutes for food allergic children? If you wish, is it possible to meet with the cook personally?
- Are food allergic children isolated from the other children at mealtime or do they all sit together?
Learn more about managing food allergies at camp and what the child’s responsibilities are. Download the .pdf to have as a handy reference and make your checklist for summer camp that much easier.
Whether it’s summer camp, a birthday party, trick or treating, or a sleepover with a friend, your child should feel confident. And helping them to feel connected with other children and not like an outsider is of major importance. We understand that and also believe that having the best possible resources can make all the difference – a life altering difference.