Sending your kid to camp can be nerve-wracking for both you and your kid, especially if your kid has food allergies. There’s no reason your kid should miss out on a summer of fun at camp because of their dietary needs. Follow our summer camp checklist to make sure your kid is safe and happy when they go to camp this summer!
Alert The Camp of Your Kid’s Allergies
When filling out your child’s medical forms for camp, be sure to list all allergies or food sensitivities your child has. Remember: be as specific as possible when describing your child’s allergies.
If you are a TIP patient at SoCal Food Allergy Institute, we have a Form Submission link where you would request any of the school or camp forms you would need. You can find this Form Submission link on TIP Connect.
Arrange a Meeting with the Camp’s Directors and Kitchen Staff
Even though filling out the required medical forms for the camp informs the staff of any allergies, request a personal meeting with the directors and kitchen staff of the camp to speak about restaurant and kitchen procedures and safety. Talk to them about your child’s particular needs for meals, snacks, and potential cross-contamination. Work out a plan to either bring your kids with you to the meeting or be prepared to show the staff a photo of them so that they know what your child/children looks like.
Be Aware of Camp Transportation
Just like during the school year, being aware of transportation policies is extremely important. If the camp provides buses to bring the children to and from camp, inquire about whether they allow food on the bus or not. In the case that your child could face potential food threats on the camp bus, it may be better to opt to drive your kid to and from camp each day.
Make Sure All Medications are Given to the Camp Nurse
- If your child requires any medication throughout the day or is required to carry an EpiPen with them, you must give the medications to the camp’s nurse.
- Check the expiration dates on each medication prior to sending them to the camp.
- Inform the staff of the times your child may need to take medication.
- Although it is part of training for camp staff, double-check that your child’s counselors are educated and trained on how to use an EpiPen in the case of an emergency.
Talk to Your Child and Make them Comfortable with Their Allergies
Before you send your kid to camp, talk to them about any fears or anxieties they may have about being away from their safe home environment. Make sure they are able to advocate for themselves when it comes to their allergies. Check out our How To Make Your Child Comfortable Informing Others About Their Allergies blog for more tips!
Make sure your child is self-aware of their food allergies and know the following:
- No sharing or trading of food
- Know what signs of a potential reaction are and advise camp staff
- Do not eat anything that was not approved beforehand
- If they are not sure they can eat something, check with a camp counselor
- DO NOT go off alone or hide if they experience any allergic symptoms
- Be aware of the location of their emergency kit and medicine
Summer camp is a fantastic adventure that all kids should experience, and children with food allergies are no exception. Please contact us at TIPhelp if you have any questions about your child going off to summer camp with food allergies. Once you check each of these boxes, you are ready to send your kid off to have a fantastic summer full of fun, friends, and new experiences!
Show us how you’re spending your summer break by tagging us on social media @SoCalFoodAllergy.