General Health

Summer camps and COVID-19: What parents need to know before sending their kids to camp

Anthony Hudson, MD, FAAP, ABOM
Summer camps and COVID-19: What parents need to know before sending their kids to camp

After months of staying home, parents might have mixed feelings about sending kids to summer camp, but for many, it’s right around the corner. It’s an important step forward for kids, now able to get out of the house, play with their friends, and get some fresh air. We encourage that! However, it’s important that camps and families do their part to follow the CDC’s recommended safety tips as we navigate our “new normal” way of life with COVID-19.

Step one is simple: Reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to your children. It’s easy to remind kids to wash their hands when you’re at home, you’ve just used the bathroom, or you’re about to sit down as a family to eat. Reminding them to wash their hands when parents aren’t around is the hard part. Encourage your kids to keep handwashing or using hand sanitizer a top priority throughout the summer camp day. They can also be a positive influence on their fellow campers.

Step two: Teach your child the importance of wearing a face mask. Many of you might be utilizing homemade cloth face coverings, which is great. However, this may be challenging for campers as they are engaging in a number of physical activities. Encourage your child to wear their face covering when physical distancing is difficult like in a cafeteria or other communal spaces. Remember that masks should not be worn by anyone who has trouble breathing or is incapacitated and unable to remove the cover without help. Children less than 2 years old should not wear masks. The camp leaders will be important role models in setting the example and encouraging kids to understand the importance of masking to protect others from possible infection.

Step three: Make sure your child stays at home if they feel sick or have recently had close contact with a person with COVID-19. Parents should be able to recognize the signs and symptoms related to the coronavirus including fever, respiratory symptoms, gastrointestinal symptoms, and/or sore throat. Click here for a full list of symptoms.

In all, we want your child to be able to enjoy a safe and fun environment at camp! If you’re uncertain about the sanitation and social distancing policies at your camp of choice, don’t be afraid to give them a call. This way, you can stay up to date on the safety precautions your camp administrators are taking to help protect both the staff and the campers!

For more information on COVID-19, and resources for parents, click here to visit our COVID-19 resource page.

For more information on the CDC’s guidelines for youth and summer camps, click here.

Anthony Hudson, MD

Anthony Hudson, MD, FAAP, ABOM is a pediatrician at Children’s Pediatrics – Lakeside. He also serves as the Chief of Pediatrics at East Jefferson General Hospital. Dr. Hudson earned his medical degree from LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine and completed pediatric residency training at Tulane Hospital. He is certified by the American Board of Pediatrics as well as the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Dr. Hudson chose to practice pediatrics because of the connections he forms with families. He enjoys being there for families through times of sickness and health. Dr. Hudson has a special interest in childhood eating disorders and the intricate dynamics of healthy eating.