Summer camp provides children with the chance to make new friends and learn new skills. Unfortunately, it also puts them at risk for common injuries and ailments associated with outdoor activity and close quarters. Before you send your child on his or her big adventure, consider the following tips for summer camp health and safety.
Be honest and accurate on health forms. Most camps ask for a comprehensive health history for on-site medical staff. Be sure to inform them of any gluten intolerance, peanut allergies or behavioral diagnoses such as ADHD or autism.
Vaccinate your child. Most camps require vaccinations; however, some do not. In these cases, your child may become exposed to potentially dangerous diseases. Before sending your child to be in close proximity with other kids, get his or her vaccinations up to date.
Keep sick children home. Many camp-wide outbreaks stem from illnesses that began at home. It can be disappointing when a child falls ill shortly before heading off to camp. Still, it’s best to hold your child out for two or three days until he or she is no longer contagious.
Pack appropriate clothing. According to a recent report, strained or sprained ankles are the most common camp injuries. Be sure to equip your child with closed-toed shoes that have strong rubber soles. Avoid sandals, flip-flops and other open-toed footwear.
Get your child in shape. Unless your child is involved in athletics, he or she may spend an inordinate amount of time in front of computers, smartphones or the television. At camp, children are involved in a number of strenuous activities, including swimming, hiking, capture the flag, tug-of-war and other competitive events. Give your child a better chance for success and reduce the risk of injury by taking a few weeks to get in shape before camp starts.
Teach self-care. Make sure your child knows to apply sunscreen and take any necessary daily medications. You should also encourage your child to speak up for him or herself when the need arises. You’d be surprised how many kids fail to notify camp authorities when they suffer cuts, allergies, stomach aches, oral pain and other common, uncomfortable physical problems.
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