It’s that time of year again: whether your kids are already off school or gearing up, it’s time for summer fun—camp whether for the day or overnight, weekend adventures, and maybe even some outdoor camp outs under the stars. All that means your kid (or you!) will probably be lugging a backpack or duffel bag with them on their impending adventures. What should that bag contain when you’re sending your kid with a chronic health condition off on an adventure?
Day camp or day trip packing with medical conditions
Much like what you’d send a kid to school with, packing your kid up for a day camp or day trip for a hike, fishing, or other outing is a bit easier than sending them on an overnighter!
Consider the following when you’re packing:
- Medical ID bracelet or necklace—waterproof stainless steel is the best bet to ensure they’re ready for everything!
- Medications needed for the day, and any over-the-counter meds needed to deal with side-effects. For camps, daycares and day camps, even OTC meds will likely need to be accompanied by a doctor’s note.
- Medical supplies (and extra supplies)
- Lunch and snacks if not provided by the camp. If your child has food allergies or significant aversions, you may want to provide lunch regardless.
- Extra shoes, depending on where they’re headed!
- A set of extra clothing
- Swimsuit and towel if needed
- A hat and sunscreen (and sunglasses if your child wears them)
- Extra glasses if your child wears them
Overnight camp packing
Most overnight camps will send a packing list home for campers of what they will need at camp—these may even be helpful if you are packing for a family camping trip or vacation! When I’m packing to go away for an extended amount of time, I use a packing app to get myself organized—TripList (iOS) is my favourite (I use the Pro version), but PackPoint (IOS/Android) is also a great one.
Here’s a sample camp packing list—consider adding these additional items.
- A camp appropriate medical ID bracelet! Our sports medical ID bracelets may be a good choice for camp to avoid restricting movement and won’t snag on “nature”—sticks, branches, and leaves!
- Sending an extra medical ID just in case is never a bad idea—plus, giving your camper choices may make them more likely to wear their ID!
- Medication your camper may need, and extras if available.
- For children with asthma, if they take a break from controller medicine in summer, it may be worthwhile to start them back on inhaled corticosteroid medicines a week or two before camp starts
- For children with severe allergies who carry epinephrine auto-injectors, find out from your child’s doctor how many they should have available at camp based on the distance to medical care—a friend who carries two auto-injectors at home in the city is prescribed to carry four when traveling further away from medical care or when flying.
- For children with allergies, an over-the-counter (OTC) antihistamine may help when they are at camp.
- Remember, camps may require a doctor’s note to administer OTC medications like allergy meds, motion sickness/anti-nausea medicines, ointments for eczema, or others. Depending on if the camp has a nurse and of what type of training they have, these medicines may be able to be provided by the nurse without a note—contact your camp in advance.
- Medical supplies: Always pack extra medical supplies your camper needs.
- For kids with diabetes: While camps of course will have food on hand, pack low blood sugar treatments your child is used to and knows how to use, or instruct staff clearly. While many camps do not allow food in cabins to avoid bugs and animals, figure out a solution with the camp in advance for your camper to stay safe. Pack extra low blood sugar treatments—all that activity may have your kid needing more than usual!
- Extra socks! This is my recommendation to all parents sending a kid to camp—I was 14 my first year at camp, and somehow in a camp cabin challenge, misplaced manyof my socks making a “scarecrow” sort of person!
- Band-Aids: While first aid supplies will be plentiful at camp, sometimes, it’s easier for a kid to apply their own (minor) first-aid and keep going! A few fun band-aids take up no room, add no weight, and can be applied easily when your kid finds they keep bumping that paper cut from arts-and-crafts or
- Fragrance free personal care products: shampoo/conditioner, soap, lotions and deodorant. Not only do these products help keep kids with allergies, asthma, and chemical sensitivities safe and healthy, using fragrance-free products may prevent your kid from attracting unwanted pests like mosquitos and flies, as well as bees, wasps and hornets.
What other items do you pack as “extras” for your child when they go away to camp? Let us know in the comments!