Diabetes in Children: Special Camps
Camps for children who have diabetes provide an opportunity for the child to meet and share experiences with other children who have the disease. These camps support the child in assuming responsibility for his or her disease and gaining independence in diabetes care. It's also a fun outdoor experience that may include swimming, hiking, or other sports.
Camps provide a respite for parents, a time when they can take a break from managing the disease. Parents can rest assured that their child will get appropriate care during this time at camp.
These camps are run by trained medical and camp staff. They aim to keep children's blood sugar levels within a target range by balancing insulin doses with the increased activity level and food intake.
What you do
To help your child have a good experience at camp:
- Make sure the camp is accredited by the American Camping Association.
- Review the camp policies. Camp policies include management of your child's diabetes care, management of other medical conditions, emergency care, planned activities and outings, and educational offerings. Opening and closing rules of the camp will also be included in the policies, such as drop-off and pick-up times.
- Complete a medical form before your child attends the camp. This form includes information about your child's past medical history and immunization record. It also requires information about the amount, schedule of doses, and kinds of insulin your child takes. It may require records of your child's blood sugar levels and insulin dosages for the previous week. Your child's doctor may need to provide some information.
- Provide information about past hospitalizations and illnesses. The camp medical staff needs to know whether your child has any behavioral or emotional problems or has had hospital stays for diabetic ketoacidosis.
- Provide information about your child's insulin pump, if he or she uses one.
- Provide a written consent if any research is being conducted at the camp. Make sure you understand what will be done, and give your written permission for your child to take part in the study.
- Provide phone numbers, in case your child or the camp staff needs to call you.
What you can expect
You can expect that:
- Your child will have three meals and two or three snacks each day.
- Appropriate procedures will be done if an emergency occurs, and you will be contacted.
- You will be contacted if needed for behavioral, emotional, or other problems that occur during camp.
- You will receive a daily record of your child's progress, which may include your child's blood sugar levels, insulin doses, activities, and level of participation. It may also include your child's food intake during the camp experience.
- You will receive a report of your child's participation in the educational program and his or her progress in learning diabetes care skills, such as giving an injection or monitoring blood sugar levels.