With Memorial Day weekend upon us, the start of summer has officially begun. As school starts to let out over the next few weeks, kids across the country are gearing up for summer camp. Children with diabetes have some special needs to keep in mind when choosing a summer camp.
Diabetes or Non Diabetes Camp?
The first question to address is whether your child wants to attend a diabetes camp or a “regular” summer camp. Be sure to tell your child that a diabetes camp isn’t a school setting where they just learn about diabetes – it’s a summer camp where they will take part in regular camp activities like swimming, hiking and drama.
The difference is that they will be with other children with diabetes, staff with diabetes, and trained medical staff who are experts in diabetes care.
Many children also start at a diabetes camp to become more comfortable away from home before branching out to another camp.
Things to Consider
Whether you are considering a diabetes or regular camp, here are some things to keep in mind.
- Make sure the camp is accredited by the American Camping Association(ACA). This assures that the camp has adequate medical staff and safety precautions.
- If you are considering a diabetes camp, ask if they follow the guidelines from The American Diabetic Association for diabetes camps.
- Talk extensively with the medical director. Ask how often blood glucose levels are checked, how they handle changes in insulin dosages, and what is done in emergency situations.
Parents and children should visit summer camps under consideration, if possible, three times, before choosing.
- When camp is not in session. This is a good opportunity to meet the camp director, medical director, and tour the facilities.
- Open House. This allows both parents and child to get an idea of how the camp is run, both programmatically and medically.
- Most importantly, when camp is in session. This provides an opportunity to view (and possibly participate in) regular camp activities.
The most important factor is that you and your child feel comfortable with any camp, whether it is diabetes-specific or otherwise. Take your time, visit, and ask questions, and your child can have a safe and fun summer experience.
For more information on managing your child’s diabetes at summer camp, click here.