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summer camp

Fun Summer Camps for Kids with Food Allergies

Posted 3.18.10 | Mallory West

Summer camp is an invaluable childhood experience full of fun, learning and personal growth. However, for parents with children who have severe food allergies, sending your child away to camp can be very scary. How can you be sure there are safe food options? And what if there is an allergic reaction? Will the camp know what to do? These fears are legitimate but it doesn’t mean your child has to miss out on all the fun. Hopefully, this entry will offer some guidance on how to ensure a safe and enjoyable camp experience for your child with food allergies.

Childhood food allergy is an increasing phenomenon and awareness is starting to catch up. A few camps cater specifically to children with food allergies.

  • One option is Camp Emerson (“the Food Allergy Specialist”), in the Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts. On the Web site, Camp Director Sue Lein writes, “The Food Allergy Camp Team meets individually with your family to respond to your child’s needs. Our goal is to ensure that your child is able to eat safely and enjoyably at Camp Emerson. We want your child to feel like ‘everyone else’ in the dining hall.”
  • Another such camp is The Center for Courageous Kids. This camp, located in Scottsville, Kentucky, has different themes throughout the summer and fall, each catering to a specific childhood medical condition. This year, there is a retreat weekend dedicated to children with severe food allergies scheduled for September 17-19. A unique feature of this program is that the whole family attends.
  • The YWCA Outdoor Education Center in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada) offers a program for kids with food allergies during session 4 of camp (July 26-30). On the Web site, the camp writes, “In partnership with Alberta Allergy Information Association, we are pleased to host a camp for children with severe food allergies. This camp, to be held during Session 4, will enable children with severe and life threatening food allergies to enjoy camp life in a safe environment.”

Next summer there will be many more options for campers with food allergies! Camp T.A.G.: A Safe Place for Food-Allergic Children and Their Siblings will open in various locations for the summer of 2011. The 11 cities chosen for the summer 2011 launch are: Joliet, Ill., Oak Brook, Ill., Minneapolis, Minn.., Houston, Texas, San Francisco, Calif., Raleigh, N.C., Philadelphia, Pa., Fairfax, Va., Silver Spring, Md., Long Island, N.Y., and North New Jersey/New York City.

Not everyone can attend a special food allergy camp so another option is to work with local camps to accommodate your child’s food allergies. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network has created “Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies at Camp” to help you through the process. The guidelines are divided into responsibilities of the parents, the camp and the campers and lists proper preparations and procedures to protect children with food allergies during camp.

Be sure to sign up soon! Camp application deadlines are fast approaching and you want to provide ample time for any special accommodations. Know of any other food-allergy friendly camps? Make sure to post them here! Happy trails!


Camp T.A.G. – Safe Summer Fun for Food Allergic Children and their Siblings

Posted 7.23.09 | Nutrition Specialist

Has your child missed out on summer camp fun due to his or her food allergies? If so, he/she may soon be able to have the traditional camp experience in a safe environment. Starting in the summer of 2011, food allergic children and their siblings will be able to attend Camp T.A.G., a weeklong day camp in Illinois, Northern Virginia, Washington, DC, Maryland and Texas.

The food allergy-friendly camp will feature a Registered Nurse on staff, allergy-safe snacks, educational activities, games, sports and crafts, and a Parent Education Day.

To learn more about Camp T.A.G., and to request a camp in your location, visit the original post on


3 Tips to Prepare for Summer Camp with Food Allergies

Posted 7.25.17 | Nutrition Specialist

Step #1: Research

Planning is always the key to success and essential when your little one has food allergies. Let’s discuss some tips and resources to help you research summer camps for your little one to be sure both your child and the camp are properly equipped to successfully manage their food allergies.

Questions that will need answers:

  • What is the camp menu and options for allergy friendly alternatives?
  • Is there a dedicated place for allergy friendly food or snacks to be stored?
  • Is there a dedicated place to store epinephrine at camp?
  • Is your child allowed to bring packed lunches/snacks? What about potential allergens from the other campers that will be attending camp with your little one?
  • Is there a food allergy management plan for the camp?
  • Is there a designated area for little ones with food allergies to eat?
  • What kind of camp staff are available for your child? Is there a healthcare professional on site?
    • If so, what are the healthcare professional’s credentials, responsibilities or capabilities?
    • If not, who is available to assist your child with any medical issues or medications?
  • What is the procedure for emergencies? Where is the nearest hospital or medical center?
  • What activities are offered that might elevate the allergen exposure for your child?

Resources to help you in your research:

Another good resource is the following recording of a webinar featuring Dr. Pistiner and Ms. Polmear-Swendris answering questions about how to choose a camp, what questions to ask of summer camp staff, how to store epinephrine at camp, and a review of basic food allergy management.

Step #2: Advocate

Now that you have done your research, it is time to start advocating for your child. Even if the camp you have chosen is well ahead of the food allergy game, your child is unique and truly one of a kind. It is your job to advocate for your child and make sure everyone is educated and prepared to provide the needed care for your little one specifically. The camp will need education regarding the details of your child’s food allergies, any signs or symptoms they need to be on the lookout for, as well as, what to do if an exposure is either suspected and/or confirmed. Here are the ABC’s of how to advocate for your camper:

  1. Notify everyone possible about your child’s food allergies. This might include:
    • The camp director
    • Staff assigned to work or interact with your child
    • All healthcare professionals available to your child while at camp
    • Anyone assisting in transportation
    • Staff working with food or staffing mealtimes
    • The camp lifeguard
    • And even any camp volunteers, special event or course instructors, or staff subs is that is possible.
  2. If there is no food allergy policy already in place, make sure to outline one that is tailored to your little one’s needs. If a policy exists, then you should still make sure and outline the details of how it will apply to your little one in particular
  3. Prepare an Emergency Care plan and Food Allergy Cards for reference to all who will need this information. Need some guidance to prepare these documents. Check out these resources:

Step #3: Educate

Now that the camp staff are prepared with the knowledge and tools they will need, time to be sure your camper knows how to advocate and care for themselves. After all, your child will be the best and first line of defense to prevent accidental exposure to allergens. If you need assistance, here is a Neocate blog with 3 Easy Steps for Success when Explaining Food Allergies to your Toddler.

Here are some quick items you may want to cover when educating your child to be ready for their summer camp adventure:

  • Discuss their red light and green light foods (or safe and unsafe) and what they can expect while at summer camp
  • Perhaps some reminders for rules when eating, such as not to share food with other campers
  • Their symptoms or reactions to food allergens
  • Who and to whom to tell if they feel funny, or what to do in certain camp situations
    • Not to go off alone if they are not feeling well
    • Where they can receive medical attention if needed
    • Where their important allergy documents are located
    • How to administer their medications, or epinephrine if needed
  • How to read a food label if possible, or who to ask for questions about the food options when at summer camp. Perhaps where their food allergy friendly snacks will be stored


  • If interested, this might be a wonderful time to get your little one a medical alert bracelet. There are many options available, including water proof ones that are perfect for summer!

Time for Summer Camp Fun

Keep in mind, getting ready for camp can be similar to how you get ready for a new school year or traveling. If you need additional tips on how to specifically travel this summer with Neocate, make sure to check-out Helpful Tips and Resources when Traveling with Food Allergies.

Now it is time for your little camper to get out and enjoy the summer camp fun. You have done your research, advocated for your little camper with staff, and educated your little one on how to have fun and stay safe while at camp. Time for the fun to begin.

Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? We would love to hear how you prepare for summer camp with food allergies, and especially how your little Neocate camper did at their summer camp. Please share in the comments below.

-Kristin Crosby MS, RDN, LDN

About Us

Food Allergy Living is a resource for parents of children with food allergies, brought to you by Nutricia, the makers of Neocate. For more in-depth information about our purpose & authors, see our About Food Allergy Living page.