8 Ways to Prepare Your Child for a Healthy Camp Experience
Before sending your child to summer camp, use this checklist of helpful tips to prepare for the best summer ever.
Make sure your child is up to date on immunizations.
Tip: For children 11 or older, plan to get their first dose of the meningococcal meningitis vaccine. Booster dose is due around age 16.
Remind your child to apply sunscreen daily to all exposed skin, minimum sun protection factor (SPF) 15. They should reapply every two hours and after swimming or after activities that cause sweating.
Tip: Some camps provide sunscreen, but you may want to supply your own in case of sunscreen allergies.
3. Medical care
Check the camp’s medical care team. Are counselors CPR educated? Are doctors/nurses on staff? Is medical care available 24/7? What is the closest hospital and how far is it?
Tip: Inform camp supervisors ahead of time about any condition your child has, from ADHD to food allergies to learning disabilities.
If your child is attending sleepover camp, homesickness is a valid concern. Before signing up, be sure your child is ready to spend time away from home with some overnight stays with friends or relatives.
Tip: Pack comfort items from home – a teddy bear, picture, notes – to help ease the feelings of missing family.
Send appropriate medication with your child, in original labeled pharmacy packaging or over-the-counter packaging, which includes dosage and frequency information. Make sure to send enough to last the duration of camp. Follow camp policies concerning on-site storage and how medication is dispensed.
Tip: Ensure your child understands his or her medication needs, the importance of not missing doses, and is aware of symptoms that signal they need medical help.
Most camps supply a list of what to bring and what not to bring, including rules about scented products.
Tip: Don’t overpack, but anticipate weather changes and send along a sweatshirt or jacket and a couple of extra outfits.
Educate your child about ticks, especially if she or he is camping in the woods or will hike through tall grassy areas. Send insect repellent that contains DEET and explain proper usage.
Tip: Show your child how to check their skin and clothing for ticks.
Make sure your child has a reusable water bottle. Dehydration is a big problem in the summer, especially for kids. Remind your child of the importance of drinking water.
Tip: Instruct your child to clean their reusable water bottle daily.