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Preparing Your Child for Summer Camp

A Safety Guide for Children That Eases Parents' Minds

NEW YORK (Jul 7, 2011)

Most people have fond memories of their camping experiences, but for parents, the anxiety of preparing for those days can be agonizing.

Whether it's a day camp or a long-term stay, parents can make the most out of the experience by preparing in advance.

"Parents should ask camp organizers basic questions about what plans they have in place to keep kids safe, handle medical emergencies, and deal with routine health needs," says Dr. Patricia Hametz, pediatrician at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.

"Camp staff should be trained in first-aid/CPR and also be thoroughly familiar with the facility's protocol in case of a medical emergency. Parents should receive a copy of those guidelines or have access to them through a posting on the website or on a bulletin board at the facility."

Dr. Hametz offers parents and guardians the following tips for a safe and injury-free summer camp experience:

  • Share emergency contacts. Parents should give the camp the emergency contacts for all children, as well as the child's physician including name, telephone number, fax number and the date of the last health care visit. Additionally, parents should have the emergency contact information for staff handy. If your child has a medical condition, camp staff should be notified.
  • Get a physical before they get physical. Make sure your child undergoes a physical examination and that their vaccinations are up to date.
  • Stay hydrated. Remind your child to drink plenty of water, even if they do not feel thirsty. Ensure they know to steer clear of sugary and carbonated drinks.
  • Teach your child to practice sun safety. Pack lightweight clothing in light colors with a loose fit to keep the sun at bay and to keep body temperatures at a normal level. Also remind your child to use sunblock (SPF 30 or greater) regularly when outdoors for prolonged periods of time, even on hazy or cloudy days.
  • Teach your child to be safe in the water. Remind your child to follow all camp rules in and around pools, lakes and other bodies of water. Children should never be around water without a certified life guard on duty.
  • Keep the bugs off. Avoid scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays on your child. Ensure repellents contain no more than 30 percent DEET. For ticks, products should have a minimum of 15 percent DEET concentration. The concentration of DEET varies in different products, so read the label of any product you purchase.

NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital

NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, located in New York City, offers the best available care in every area of pediatrics — including the most complex neonatal and critical care, and all areas of pediatric subspecialties — in a family-friendly and technologically advanced setting. Building a reputation for more than a century as one of the nation's premier children's hospitals, Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital is affiliated with the Department of Pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and is Manhattan's only hospital dedicated solely to the care of children and one of the largest providers of children's health services in the tri-state area with a long-standing commitment to its community. It is also a major international referral center, meeting the special needs of children from infancy through adolescence worldwide. NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital also comprises NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division and NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. For more information, visit


Linda Kamateh
Phone: (212) 821-0560.
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