Summer is about having fun and taking a break from school. For parents, it can mean finding a way to entertain their kids; sending them to camp is a popular option.
Whether your child chooses a day camp or an overnight camp, if they suffer from food allergies parents have a valid concern about the safety of the camp. Here are a few questions to ask the staff and administration 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 dining establishments 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. Are there procedures for dealing with emergencies? How close is medical attention if it is needed? Educate yourself to ensure your child will be in good hands should anything happen.
Can you handle children with uncommon food allergies? – Some uncommon food allergies may be difficult for certain camps to monitor. If a camp is unable to make necessary menu changes for your child’s allergy, pass on that camp and choose one that can accommodate your child. This may mean a day camp where your child can eat their own lunch each day.
Although it is important to inform the staff that will be caring for your child of important dietary needs, it is also crucial to educate your child about their allergies; they are responcible for what goes into their body. 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. 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.
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.
Carry an Epipen- If your child has severe allergies talk to your doctor about getting an Epipen. Epipens are used if a person accidentally comes into contact with an allergen causing extreme allergic reaction and can potentially save their life. Summer camps can become extremely busy and it can become difficult to monitor everything all the time. In a circumstance where your child accidentally receives the wrong food tray you can rest assured they have an Epipen available.
Summer camp can be fun and safe even for kids with food allergies. Be proactive and ask questions to ensure a positive, memorable experience.