AMERICAN ACADEMY OF PEDIATRICS APR 2017
ADVICE ON HOW TO KEEP YOUR CAMPER INJURY-FREE
Some of the best summer adventures can be close to home. There’s a wonderful day camp that your son’s school friends have been enjoying for years, and it’s just around the corner. Besides age constraints of residential camps, there are numerous other reasons to choose a day camp for your child. Perhaps your mother is staying with you this summer, and you don’t want the children to miss the opportunity to spend more time with her. Or maybe your daughter’s ballet school is offering a summer program filled with outdoor activities, crafts, or an opportunity to get a leg up in dance.
A Summer day camp is a place where your child will stretch her mind, make new friends, learn a new skill (or a dozen), grow spiritually, enjoy positive role models, and help others. In spite of all the benefits of day camp, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that it’s important to make sure your child is safe at camp and have issued the following tips:
When children show signs of illness, keep them home. This greatly reduces the spread of illness at camp. Ask your camp director about the time frame that a child must be symptom-free before coming to camp.
Teach your child to sneeze and cough in his/her sleeve, and to wash his/her hands often at camp. Hand washing with soap and water should be performed for at least twenty seconds to remove germs.
Closed-toed shoes are a requirement for activities such as sports and hiking. This will help avoid slips, trips, and falls, which could cause injuries. Stress to your child the importance of wearing closed-toed shoes to prevent a toe, foot, and/or ankle injury.
Send enough clothes so your child can wear layers. Mornings can be chilly and by afternoon it may be hot. This enables your child to peel his/her layers off as the weather warms.
Fatigue plays a part in injuries. If children are going to day camp, ensure they get enough rest at night. If children are going to resident camp, explain that camp is not like a sleepover. Explain to your child that he/she should not try to stay up all night!
Don’t forget to send sunscreen with about 45 SPF because of the long hours in the sun, and instruct your child how to use it.
Please send a reusable water bottle. Because of the large amount of water that the bottle will handle, be sure the bottle is stainless steel or BPA- and Phthalate-free plastic. Your child can refill it frequently during their camp stay. Staying hydrated is very important in the summer.
Deciding whether or not to send your child to camp on a psychotropic medication break is a personal choice, but you should discuss your medication decisions with the camp director and your family physician. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children on psychotropics remain on them for camp. According to AAP’s Health Appraisal Guidelines for Day Camps and Resident Camps, “Elective interruption in medications (drug holidays) should be avoided in campers on long-term psychotropic therapy” (AAP, 2005). For more information, check with your doctor.
Make sure you fill out medical history and authorization for medical care forms for your child. In the event of an emergency or if your child gets sick at camp, these will be necessary documents for the camp to refer to and have on file. Speak with your camp director to make sure he or she has all the necessary information. #