A few months away from the beginning of summer, the registration period for camps is in full effect and many parents of children with food allergies strive to make the right choice. Rest assured: seeing as approximately 40 000 children in Quebec live with food allergies1, all camps – especially those whom are members of the Certified camps of Quebec association – are well prepared to welcome children with allergies, they are even used to it!
A good preparation from all and constant communication between the family and camp personnel will allow for a safe and incredible experience for all.
To ensure the security of all children affected by one or multiple food allergies, it is crucial that parents and camp personnel adequately prepare the child’s stay.
- Discuss with the child about his/her concerns in regards to their allergies and reassure them after having gathered all necessary information for the camp’s management team
- Make sure your child knows the basics of allergies, not to exchange or share food and utensils, to avoid doubtful foods – to refrain from eating foods when in doubt, to have auto-injector on them at all times, to wash their hands before and after meals
- Ensure a written policy is in place in regards to allergies, including an emergency protocol
- Ensure that staff have been trained to adequately respond to the specific needs of children with allergies and to be able to recognize the symptoms of an allergic reaction and respond to emergencies
- Take the necessary precautions, in the case of summer camps or day camps with meal service, when preparing food in the kitchen (storage, preparation and service)
The safety of a camper with one or multiple allergies is a responsibility shared by camp staff, parents and the child himself. Good communication and the sharing of important information is therefore essential.
- Each camper has a health file to be completed at the time of registration. These documents are confidential and only available to those responsible for the child. It is therefore essential to complete it before the start of the stay – or to update it if your child has already been to camp – so that staff members can review it before their arrival. In the case of Espy camps, for example, camp counsellors should review the records of all campers in their group the week prior to the start of the stay. They must also fill out a document and give it to their team leader who will communicate with the parents if information is missing or if they require additional details.
- Camps should be able to provide details of menus before the start of the summer. It is therefore strongly recommended that parents whose children with allergies communicate with the camp’s management team if they have any concerns about certain meals. It is also possible, in some camps like ours, to ask for special menus.
- To facilitate the reception of children with multiple allergies, different things can be put in place. Parents may, for example, decide to provide the cutlery and food for their child. Parents must simply be creative and not hesitate to ask questions.
Do not be worried and register your child for the upcoming summer. Although there are many things to consider, there is no doubt that they will experience a fabulous and safe stay!
 Dufresne Claire, Vivre avec les allergies alimentaires. Montréal, Les éditions la presse. 2009, 253p.
 Epipen. Dix stratégies pour réduire le risque de réactions allergiques graves. , [En ligne]. https://www.epipen.ca/sites/default/files/p38f.pdf (Page consultée le 10 mars 2019)