Kids Health Matters: Summer camp

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Children across the area are off to camp, and there are some things parents need to keep in mind.

Children across the area are off to camp, and there are some things parents need to keep in mind.

Summer camp used to be for the lucky few, but in the days of 2-career and single-parent families, it's where many more kids are spending their summer days.

Dr. Eileen Everly of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia says, "It's a great time for children to try new activities, to maybe try something they can't do every day."

She also says camps can also be an important time for a child's inner growth.

It's not all about outdoor fun anymore. Many camps try to engage a child's whole brain.

And some could open the door for a new hobby, or even a future career.

"There's a lot of opportunities for kids to find their voice, and what they like, and what they never thought they'd like," said Dr. Everly.

While kids focus on the activities, parents should be aware of some safety and health basics.

If the kids are getting to and from camp by van or bus, who is the driver and how is the vehicle equipped?

"Are there seat belts on the bus for younger kids? Are there car seats available? Or are you supposed to provide your own?" said Dr. Everly.

Sunscreen is a must if the children will be outdoors. But should they bring their own? And who will make sure it's re-applied every 2 hours?

Are epinephrine injectors (EpiPens) on hand for children with serious food or bee sting allergies?

If kids need regular medications, can the camp store them properly? Who makes sure the children get them?

And if a child gets hurt, how soon can they get medical attention?

Most kids adjust to a new place and new camp friends quickly.

But prolonged behaviors like crying, not sleeping or not eating could signal something more.

Dr. Everly adds, "Even the most confident kid who can't wait to get away from home may not really realize that on their very first night they're sleeping there and their parents aren't going to be there, and you just can't go home."

Dr. Everly says role-playing - practicing what your child would do in various situations - can prepare them, and help you know they're ready for summer adventures.
Related Topics:
healthKids Health MatterschildrencampingfamilyCenter City Philadelphia
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