Keeping kids safe in sun at summer camp

Kids at Melwood\'s Camp Accomplish are armed with their water bottles to stay hydrated and cool. (WTOP/Darci Marchese)

Darci Marchese, wtop.com

NANJEMOY, Md. – Can you imagine being outdoors all day at summer camp in this heat? Some experts say make sure your child is educated and slathered in sunscreen before he walks out the door.

“Start talking at home about how to be safe in the sun,” advises Doria Fleisher, Associate Director at Melwood’s Camp Accomplish in Nanjemoy, Md.

She says parents need to make sure their children are aware of the dangers of heat exposure and to be aware of what their bodies are telling them.

Fleisher says teach children to speak up to their camp counselors and tell them when they get tired or need a break. She says children also need to take personal responsibility and make sure to drink plenty of water.

She also advises kids to help out other kids. If children see a fellow camper without water, make sure to encourage him to drink up.

If you have younger children, don’t take a chance of letting them put on their sunscreen after they arrive at camp. She says slather on the sunscreen at home.

Fleisher says put the sunscreen on scalps, arms, legs, shoulders, ears and even in between their toes depending on their shoe-wear.

What do camps do in extreme heat? It’s all about flexibility.

Fleisher says they bring children in from the outdoors and switch to indoor activities.

She says they take on the “we’re not going to be able to do that today let’s do this instead” mentality.

While extra pool time is a good option, there are dangers associated with that, too.

She says pools are “actually a great place for kids to get dehydrated because they don’t notice that they’re hot.”

She says they take several water breaks while at the pool.

While kids get hot and sweaty, Fleisher says there’s still room for fun.

She says during last year’s mini heat wave, they painted the kids during “Jungle Week” and had fun spraying everyone with a hose to remove the paint and have fun staying cool.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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