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Can My Allergic Son Attend Summer Camp?

Dear Food Allergy Concierge,

One of the parenting questions which has been bothering me for some time is, can my allergic son attend summer camp? My son is allergic dairy, gluten and tree nuts, including cross-contact. My friends’ children all attend day camp and some of the older ones are even going to sleepaway camp, but I am anxious just thinking about it. School is difficult enough! What’s your advice?

Emily

Allergic Summer Camp

Dear Emily,

Our best advice is to trust your instincts. Just as you know when you go to a restaurant or hotel whether the staff really understands food allergies and is committed to keeping food safe from cross-contact, you can generally tell whether camps are properly set up to deal with food allergies. Start by interviewing the camp director head of food services and asking these questions:

  1. Do you have a written policy for dealing with allergies, including emergency procedures?
  2. Does staff have access to and know how to use epi pens?
  3. How will food be prepared for my allergic child?
  4. Do counselors, speciality staff, waiters etc. have training in food allergy awareness and emergency procedures?
  5. Have you previously had campers with food allergies? How did you accommodate them?
  6. How close is the nearest hospital/medical center?

In the United States, you can use the FARE list of allergy-friendly summer camps as a starting point. This list is obviously not comprehensive and it doesn’t come with any guarantees, but it will give you ideas of which camps in your area might be a good fit. You can also ask on allergy groups on Facebook or consult with your friends with allergic kids to get first-hand testimonials on which camps are most allergy-safe.

It’s no secret that lack of awareness is the biggest enemy of safety. If you have any hesitation about a particular camp, we recommend sending your child elsewhere. Whether it’s a day camp or a sleepaway camp, if your child is spending significant amounts of time there, you need to know that they are as safe as possible.

You didn’t say how old your son is, but it’s important to note that children 13 and over are at high-risk for anaphylaxis. This is because they are independent, like to be spontaneous and go with the flow, don’t want to appear different and are just getting into the world of dating, where kissing can be an issue. Your teen can’t suddenly become responsible for his food allergies overnight when he gets to camp. If he has been managing his allergies independently to some extent for a few years and has exhibited responsible behavior, camp should be an option.

If you have more questions or want us to speak directly to a camp, let us know and we will be happy to help.

Sincerely,

Bracha Zanbar
Client Services Manager
Food Allergy Concierge

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What Our Clients Say

Meticulous in their preparations

During our recent visit to Israel, we really struggled to find food for our son who has anaphylactic level allergies to egg and sesame. We approached both restaurants and hotels and were told they were unable or unwilling to take responsibility for preparing his food.

 After learning about Dr. Eliana on-line, we contacted her in the hopes that she could provide a ‘normal’ restaurant experience for our family.

 Both she and Shani were meticulous in their preparations with the restaurants to ensure that our son had a wonderful and safe experience.

 We truly appreciate their efforts to take care of our son, and to provide us with a lovely vacation experience.

T.M., Chicago, USA

Comfortable, calm, and at ease

We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the amazing gift you have given us over this Pesach- the gift of having you with us!!!!

We have NEVER felt more comfortable, calm, and at ease than we did these past 10 days. Your warmth, professionalism, kindness, and care shown through in all that you did.

My children are so grateful that they were able to be with you this Pesach. You made sure that they were so well looked after and they felt so at ease and comfortable with you! You were so amazing and approachable to them! And they LOVED all the food you so amazingly prepared (supervised allergy-free food preparation, managed menus) for them!

It’s very difficult for us to trust people when it comes to our kids and allergies. You magically were able to take away ALL of our anxieties, and nervousness (and we don’t give that away so easily!!)

We can never fully thank you enough. We truly feel that you instantly became part of our family and we look forward to G-d willing being able to be with you and plan amazing trips with you many many many more times!!!! 

CO, Canada
April 2016

Very Helpful

Thank you and may Hashem bless you for the work you do. My son Jacob said your allergy card has been very helpful. I am so grateful- beyond words.

Yasher Koach!
L.R., NY, NY

Delicious and Safe

Thank you for delivering our allergy free baked goods to our hotel.  We just tasted the focaccia and it was delicious!

All the best,

S.C., New Jersey

Thank You

We can't thank you enough for assembling this top-notch team of specialists to work with our daughter while she is in Israel.

T.G., Philadelphia, PA

The Allergy Card was Extremely Helpful

"Food Allergy Concierge assisted us with a very helpful, detailed customized allergy card in Hebrew.  The Allergy card was extremely helpful for multiple allergies and allowed us to eat safely in several eateries and hotels. Highly recommended.”

G.A. Illinois USA

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