PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Every summer there are about 14 million kids that attend camps. On Monday, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a new report aimed at keeping those children healthy and safe.
Children will start with camps in the coming weeks and typically the biggest concerns are heat exhaustion, sunburn and bug bites.
And this year, with the recent outbreak of the measles, camps are making proof of vaccinations mandatory.
“We’ve had some families that said they were going to get the vaccine, then we’ve also had families that have said they wanted a refund and were going to find a different place for their kids,’ said Camp Alvernia Director Ben Esposito.
A new American Academy of Pediatrics report on summer camp health and safety recommends that campers be immunized on schedule and that camps eliminate non-medical exemptions for vaccines.
The report also highlights allergic campers should know how to use their EpiPens and have their medicals devices easily accessible.
“We have to have an emergency plan in place for treatment for anything that might possibly happen, we do have an AED on site,” Esposito said. “Along with certain types of medication we keep under double locks, so that children don’t have access to them and only trained medical staff can access them and administer those medications.”
The American Camp Association says families need to do their homework before sending kids to camp for the summer and that starts with making sure the camp is accredited and regulated.
“There’s in fact loopholes in different states that allow camps to operate with no licensure,” said Executive Director of the American Cam Association, Susie Lupert. “It means that there’s no background checks being done on staff, it means there’s no medical plans in place.”
The report also says parents should pick a camp that matches their child’s interests and skills so they have a healthy and happy camp experience.
Parents are being advised to get in touch with camps before their children arrive because rules and regulations may have changed for this year.