May 29, 2009

It’s important to prepare for summer camp

A U.S. doctor suggests kids headed to summer camp should get a physical before getting physical.

Dr. Patricia Hametz, director of the Injury and Violence Prevention Center at NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital in New York City, says parents should make sure their child's vaccinations are up to date and check whether camp records include emergency contacts -- including the child's physician.

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, Hametz says in a statement. 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, she adds, should receive a copy of these medical guidelines or have access to them.

Hametz says parents should remind their child at camp to:

-- Steer clear of sugary and carbonated drinks, but drink plenty of water, even if not feeling thirsty.

-- Keep body temperatures at a normal level by wearing lightweight, light-colored, loose fitting clothing and avoiding sunburns.

-- Use plenty of sun block, even on hazy or cloudy days.

-- Never go into the water without a certified life guard on duty.

-- Stay away from scented soaps, perfumes or hair sprays that may attract bugs. Bug repellents should contain no more than 10 percent DEET.