Recommendations Developed to Prepare Children for Camp

Parents should discuss camper health needs with camp staff before enrolling their children

MONDAY, June 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- In a policy statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and published online June 17 in Pediatrics, recommendations are presented for the preparation of children for summer camps.

Michael J. Ambrose, M.D., from St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Edward A. Walton, M.D., from Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit, developed recommendations for health appraisal and preparation of young people before participation in day, resident, or family camps.

The authors note that before choosing a camp, parents and guardians and primary care providers need to assess a child's interests, skills, and overall physical, mental, and emotional well-being and their ability to participate in a specific camp setting. Parents are encouraged to discuss all camper health needs with camp health staff before enrolling their children. Parents and guardians are responsible for providing the program with changes in the camper's health status; for campers on long-term psychotropic therapy or those on maintenance therapy for a chronic condition, elective interruption of medications should be avoided during camp. It is imperative that all campers and staff be in compliance with the recommended childhood immunization schedule. Camps need to have written health policies and protocols in place; camp health care providers should have training in children's health. Camps should have an automated external defibrillator on site; campers need to be proficient in the use of personal emergency medications and medical devices (e.g., inhalers or epinephrine autoinjectors).

"The camp experience can be tremendously rewarding and confidence-boosting," Ambrose said in a statement. "You will want to match the child's interests, skills, and physical and emotional well-being with a camp that offers the best fit."

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