Summer is approaching and with it comes sports camps, clinics, and showcases. Preparing for these is important and can be simplified by following a few simple guidelines.
Get a Physical
Especially if it has been longer than one year since your child's last physical (a/k/a pre-participation physical evaluation or exam), see your pediatrician or family physician for a check-up before summer camp. Ask if any activities should be restricted, and refill any routine medications such as inhalers, antihistamines, etc.
It is likely that immunizations will be reviewed at the doctor's visit.
- Meningitis: This is a good opportunity to give your camper the meningitis vaccine if he is over the age of 11.
- Tetanus: Be sure your child's tetanus is up to date (within the last 10 years)
- Other vaccines: Double check to make sure other vaccines are current:
- MMR (usually given at 15 months and again at 4-6 years old)
- Chickenpox; and
- Hepatitis B.
- Hepatitis A: If your child is going to a developing country or will be drinking unpurified water this summer (i.e. camping, etc.) consider obtaining the Hepatitis A vaccine as well.
Camps vary, but if there is a lot of outdoor sports activity, pack sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater.
- Look for a sunscreen which provides protection against both UVA and UVB.
- Instruct your camper to apply the sunscreen liberally 15-30 minutes before exposure and to try to re-apply as often as possible, ideally every two hours.
- Also, depending on the sport, you may want to pack a wide-brimmed hat.
- Lip protection, with SPF of 15 or greater is always a good idea.
- Consider shopping for UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) clothing, which provides sun protection from within the fabric (Solumbra, and others).
- Sunglasses in with UVA and UVB protection may be needed as well.
Packing enough changes of clothing is important in preventing skin conditions caused by extended contact with wet clothing. This can be a good opportunity to instruct your camper on doing "sink laundry" using packets of Woolite (or others), and proper drying methods. Be sure the clothing fits the projected weather and always plan for rain with a light-weight poncho and/or umbrella. Instruct your child to NEVER put on dirty or wet clothing.
First Aid Kit
Most sports camps will have at least a small infirmary and easy access to medical care. Bringing a small first aid kit is still a smart idea. Prepare the kit with your child and instruct her on the use of simple bandages, individual packets of antibiotic ointment (such as Bacitracin), etc. Usually all medications must go through the camp's administration, so skip OTC tablets; items such as acetaminophen, Benadryl, etc. are usually provided at the camp's infirmary.
Important Contact Numbers
Make a list of important contact numbers including emergency backup numbers if you cannot be reached. Include the camper's doctor, dentist, etc. It's a good idea to list all regular medications and allergies as well.
- Be sure the shoes for the sport involved are current and broken-in.
- Include extra laces and some moleskin in the event blisters develop.
- It's a great time to again instruct them on some basic self-care for blisters.
- Shower shoes are important for cleanliness and safety.
Let summer sports camps be all fun and no "hurt" by preparing with this checklist. The preparation can be part of the learning experience for your camper, and make it all the easier in years to follow.
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