Thursday, June 18, 2009

Summer Camp Tips for Food Allergy Parents

I am just about wrapping up a camp with my nut-allergic daughter so I thought I would share some of the tips I've found useful for our family. Today I received a "sick" phone call and was able to be reached right away, thank goodness. It's time to share my pearls of hard-earned wisdom since I can be notorious for rushing out of the house in the a.m. If you're like me, it pays to be prepared.

Here are a few basic tips to remember as you take your kids to camp:

Keep the phone charged. If your phone is dead, they can't reach you! Plug that sucker in ASAP after returning home from camp each day. If you can't remember, write yourself a note.

Have your child memorize cell phone numbers if old enough. Occasionally clerical errors will result in camp staff having the wrong number, or maybe your home number isn't the best place to reach you during the day. In my case, I sent my daughter to school with my cell phone number memorized--our home number is on her allergy bracelet and since her day camp was far from home, I did not return there after drop off but hung out in town nearby instead.

Meet key staff in person. It's really helpful to match names with faces and it gives a personal touch to the staff to show them that you care enough about your child's well-being to seek them out. Involved parents get better service from staff and teachers!

Double-check the Epi Pen's expiration date. You may be transferring Epis straight from the school health office to camp. That's fine, but inspect their date and color (if the liquid looks yellow, it may be invalid) and determine if they've had heat or cold exposure.

Stock plenty of allergy-free snacks and "cold packs." Depending on the camp, your child may be eating snacks and/or meals there so always have safe snacks that they can grab as they go. Keeping a supply of frozen cold packs on hand ensures that your child's bag lunch stays at a safe temp on a hot summer day.


WendyGK said...

Hi Jenny,
I have another tip. Make friends with folks who teach summer camps and then they take peanuts and nuts off the menu. I am teaching a cooking and art day camp for a month and I am doing it nut free because of your influence. Still trying to decide if I'll be gluten free, too.

Jenny said...

Hi Wendy!

Great to hear from you! I'm seriously moved by your choice to make the camp nut-free. Thank you for caring. You make a difference when you make a choice like that!

Hope your camp goes really well--I'll have to keep up on your posts about it. Sounds fun!

Philadelphia Girls Soccer Camp said...

It seems that food allergy is one of the things that worries parents most when sending their kids to summer camps. Thanks for sharing these tips.