I have been a camp nurse for several years and have witnessed the effects of parents not sending their children to camp prepared for the elements of the environment, illness and injury. A simple checklist can go a long way to alleviate pain and regret. I have some basic suggestions for parents to consider when preparing to send their children to camp, and for camp leaders to use while they are responsible for children at camp.
Send sunscreen: Instruct your child to use it in the morning, at lunchtime and before going on hikes. Generally a lot of time is spent out in the sun. It is easy for sunscreen to be forgotten in the excitement of all the activities. Leaders need to make sure the children are putting it on.
Send hat: Hats are great to use on hikes and for outdoor activities.
Send water bottle: Leaders need to make sure everyone has a water bottle for the hikes and long outdoor activities.
Send good, sturdy shoes: Hiking boots or good tennis shoes should be used for hiking to protect the feet and ankles. No sandals!
Send a jacket: It often becomes quite cool at night.
Bug spray: Leaders need to make sure bug spray is used with caution to prevent it from getting into peoples' eyes. It should never be sprayed directly onto the face and never sprayed inside cabins or tents.
Send pertinent medical information: It is extremely important for the camp nurse to know current health information as well as past health history.
Check medications in with the nurse: This includes medications children take regularly and medications they take as needed. It's important to send medications if they have a history of allergies or asthma.
Ticks: When your child returns home, it is a good idea to check them for ticks. Ticks can be anywhere on the body, but it is a good idea to check the hairline, under the arms, under the breast area and the groin area.
It is of utmost importance to keep all campers safe and healthy. I hope this information will be helpful to campers, parents, camp leaders and nurses.
Wende Prince, RN