Preparing Your Child for Summer Camp
New Lenox, IL (June 3, 2013)—While high-tech camping gear and email have changed the camp experience, preparing kids for camp and summer programs still requires some basic provisions.
“Camps are an important way to keep your kids physically active and fit while stimulating interest in new activities,” says Dr. Thomas Lee, family practice physician with Primary Care Professionals in New Lenox. “Many camps require a physical, particularly if it is a sports camp.”
This doctor's visit is a great time to ensure your child is up-to-date with vaccines and prescriptions. Remember, schools often require physicals too, and most insurance policies only cover one annual exam per child. Therefore, Dr. Lee will offer discounted school, sport, and camp physicals for students age 6 years and older through Sept. 30, 2013. Cost is $45 includes and includes a physical examination and completion of required forms. Immunizations, if required, are an additional fee. Cash, check, or credit/debit card accepted at time of appointment—insurance will not be billed. Call (815) 300-1450 to schedule an appointment. Evening and weekend hours available.
In addition to filling out forms, parents should make sure the camp is prepared to handle medical emergencies. “Ask if there is a nurse or doctor on site at all times, and where campers are sent for medical care if something more serious happens,” says Dr. Lee.
Talk with camp administrators about any concerns you may have including food allergies. Ask how the camp accommodates special diets. Determine how the kitchen avoids cross-contamination of allergy-provoking foods and inquire about action plans if a camper has an allergic reaction.
Being confident about the camp your child attends will ease the anxiety and help prepare you both. Dr. Lee recommends parents start discussing their child’s upcoming camp activities and making new friends now. These conversations will help children mentally prepare for camp and feel more confident. However, no matter how ready children are for camp, most will miss home at some point. First-time campers psychologically benefit from short-term sessions close to home. Once a camper stays longer, consider packing pre-addressed and stamped postcards to encourage writing home.
“Throughout your child's experience, remember some level of homesickness is natural and healthy,” says Dr. Lee. “Becoming independent and managing emotions are core benefits of camp.”
Dr. Lee suggests parents pack a few other supplies to make sure their children have a safe and healthy experience.
- Sunscreen. Grab an easy-to-apply sunscreen your child is willing to wear on her own. SPF 30 works for the majority of kids if they reapply throughout the day. As a general rule, use one ounce of sunscreen (about a palm full) per application. Pre-portioned sunscreen towelettes are easy to apply and ensure kids are covered. You may also want to ask if children need a doctor's note to apply sunscreen.
- Sunglasses that filter out UVA/UVB rays
- A wide-brimmed hat
- SPF-rated swimwear and safety equipment
- Clothing that can be layered
- A variety of shoes—Pack everything from hiking boots to water shoes, depending on the activities your child will participate in.
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Toiletries including a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, soap, shampoo, and other necessities for proper hygiene should be packed together in a waterproof bag.
- Mosquito repellant and salve for bites and stings
About Dr. Lee
Thomas Lee, M.D.is board certified in Family Medicine. Heearned his medical degree fromRush Medical College in Chicago. He completed hisresidency at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital. Havingpracticed in the south suburbs for 15 years, Dr. Leecares for patients of all ages and is a member of the AmericanAcademy of Family Practice. His office is located at Silver Cross Hospital, Pavilion B, 1890 Silver Cross Blvd., New Lenox.