Food Allergies and Summer Camp: What to Consider

Food allergies don’t have to leave your child in the cold when it comes to summer camp. You can help them stay safe and healthy with a few simple tips. For parents, there are a few questions to ask.

Summer is about having fun and taking a break from school. For parents, it can mean finding a way to entertain their kids. One alternative is summer camp.

Whether your child chooses a day camp or an overnight camp, if they suffer from food allergies you have a valid concern about the safety of the camp. Here are a few questions to ask of the staff and administration of the camp before signing your child up.

How do you handle food allergies? – Many kids suffer from some sort of food allergy today. In an effort to accommodate, many eliminate the common allergens from their dietary list. Check to see what ingredients their food list contains.

How do you handle a food allergy emergency? – Even with changes to the food being served, there is always the chance that a child will come in contact with an allergen. What is the procedure for dealing with this emergency? How close is medical attention if it is needed? Know that your child will be in good hands should anything happen.

Can you handle children with multiple food allergies? – Some uncommon food allergies may be difficult for certain camps to monitor. If this is the case, pass on that camp in favor of one that can accommodate your child. This may mean a day camp where your child can eat their own lunch each day.

For your child, they also need tips to help them to navigate the waters of food allergies. If they have lived with these allergies all their lives, they can be prepared with a few suggestions to help them avoid potential danger.

Bring snacks from home – They are familiar with their own snack regimen at home. Bringing allergen-free snacks can reduce the chance of coming in contact with any trouble.

Avoid switching foods with other campers – New-found friends love to trade food in their stash. Your child can offer their snacks if they wish but warn them not to accept other snacks. The reasoning here is that they don’t know what ingredients are found in those other snacks. Foods such as peanuts can be listed under other names unrecognizable by your child. They may think it is safe to eat but it really is not.

Wear a medic alert bracelet – This can alert staff that your child has a medical condition they need to be aware of. In an emergency, there will be no doubt as to what has caused the reaction.

Summer camp can be fun and safe even for kids with food allergies. Be proactive and ask questions to ensure a positive, memorable experience.  More on food allergies from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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