The days are getting longer, and you can easily count the days left in the school year or have already started the summer. It’s time to think about how to keep your kids busy during the summer.
Memories of Summer camp bring up images of swimming, games, hiking, and stories around a campfire. For food allergy parents and kids these same images can bring up fear and anxiety. The good news is more and more camps are prepared for food-allergic children and have plans in place. With planning and good communication, you too can find camps and summer activities to keep your children entertained all summer.
We are sharing some of our best tips for what to ask where to start the summer camp /activity search:
Remember you are the best advocate for your child, and you know what is best for them.
Call and speak to the director of the camp and Visit the camp Many overnight camps have family weekends before their summer season for parents to vet the accommodations and staff. This will also allow you to see how they handle your child’s needs in person. This is also, a great time to check in with your child, how do they feel about staying without you. Is this the right fit? Not every kid goes to camp, and that is okay too.
Ask what their food allergy policy is and how they train their staff. You want them to have a written policy while still having the flexibility to deal with the individual needs of each child’s allergy.
How is food safely prepared for individuals with food allergies? Food-service personnel must have an in-depth understanding of food allergies and specific procedures for preparing and serving food with safe ingredients and without cross-contamination. For half-day or day camps ask about providing food for your child.
Is the camp accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA)? While this is not a deal-breaker, it is a great place to start. Camps listed on the ACA have to have procedures for food allergies.