As a parent of a child with food allergies, it can be very nerve-wracking to send your child away to a summer camp. Depending on how serious your child’s allergies are, the precautions you will need to take may vary. However, there is no need to fret. As long as you stay informed about the potential dangers and prepare your child to approach these risks safely, you will have nothing to worry about when he or she goes away to camp.
Follow these tips to keep your child safe:
- When choosing the camp your child will attend, reach out to the camp director to ensure that there will be food options available to your child. Most camps prepare for these types of situations, as they are eager to host children of many different needs.
- Ask around. Talk to other parents of children with food allergies, and ask for potential camp recommendations for your child.
- Inquire about the food preparation techniques, storage, and environment in which the food is made.
- Offer to make special accommodations for your child, such as sending up safe foods that you have prepared yourself.
- Talk to the camp director about the policies they have in place in the event of an allergic reaction, and make sure that you have exchanged contact information so that you can be quickly accessible in case of an emergency.
- Make sure that your child has access to a cell phone and necessary medication (i.e., an EpiPen) so that they feel safe in the event of an emergency.
- Inquire about mealtime procedures – Are the campers required to wash their hands upon leaving the cafeteria? Do campers have access to their personal food items in their rooms? If so, take care to alert your camp director that this may be a potential danger to your child.
- Discuss with your child the procedure in case of emergency and the precaution that he or she must take.
Instill confidence in your child by preparing him with an emergency action plan and a positive attitude. You will be able to send your child away without any worries when you have taken these precautionary measures. Above all, your child will be able to enjoy his enriching experience for all it has to offer, without his allergies holding him back.