Summer is here, and it is time to start thinking of summer camps for your children. Summer sleep-away camps are like a rite of passage for children. It is a significant experience. Kids spend time around the campfire telling ghost stories, making friends, and eating smores.
Parents of children with food allergies are very concerned about sending their kids to summer camps. They are worried that their kids will feel isolated because of their food allergies, they are concerned about their kid having an allergic reaction, and they are worried about not being there for their kid in case of an emergency.
Here are a few tips for things you can do to make summer camp an actual possibility for your child.
Communicate with the staff & camp nurse
Many camps already have protocols set in place for a camper who has medical conditions or food allergies. However, it is better to safe than sorry. We recommend that you meet with the head of the camp, the head chef, the counselors, and the camp medical staff. It is important to make sure that they are aware of the severity of the allergy, which foods can trigger it, and what to do in case of an allergy. The staff must know about cross-contamination and other ways that your child might have an allergic reaction.
If your child has mild to severe allergies, make sure the camp has a few EpiPens and that they are being stored correctly. It is also essential to make sure that your child has extra Benadryl in case of an allergic reaction. Also make sure that the staff is aware of the medical procedure in case of an emergency. Make sure the staff has your child's emergency medication and your child's emergency contact.
Send a medical checklist to the camp
Almost every child with allergies carries some emergency medical supplies in case of an emergency. Most people carry 2 EpiPens, Benadryl, or other allergy medications. When going to camp, your child and the medical staff must have all of your child's medication.
Make sure people can identify the allergic symptoms
One of the most important things that the staff and your child need to know are the symptoms of an allergic reaction. Everyone reacts slightly differently, and it is important to understand how your child reacts to an allergen. Here are the common symptoms:
Teaching responsibility & independence
While it is very scary to send your child to camp, it is an incredible experience for the child. It is a great opportunity for your child to learn about responsibility and self-reliance. This isn't always possible, depending on the severity of your child's allergy. If your child has mild allergies, it is good for them to learn responsibility for taking their medication, learning to ask the right questions, and asking for help.
Make allergy-safe snacks
As a parent, it's comforting to know that your child has some safe snacks to eat if they are going on a camp trip. So, the parents can make lots of allergy-safe snacks or do research on which snacks are safe for their child to buy.
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
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!!!!
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.
L.R., NY, NY
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
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
"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
My family ordered a week's worth of food from Food Allergy Concierge during the most recent lockdown. Having the food on hand, and knowing that it was safe for everyone in the family to eat, helped turn the lockdown into a stay-cation! We were still able to take a break from cooking and worrying, and we look forward to using FAC's services again in the future.
We are so lucky we found this company to help us while our son was traveling. They provided allergy-safe baked goods and delivered them to his hotel so he could have bread and pastries on his month-long Israel trip. It was very easy ordering and communicating his needs. I would definitely use the food allergy concierge again the next time he travels to Israel.