Parents often worry about their child’s safety at camp. All kids get bumps, bruises, cuts and even broken bones. Camp staff will do all they can to keep your child safe, but risks are inherent in many camp activities. Whether or not your child with seizures is at any greater risk, and what to do about that, will depend on the child’s seizure type and frequency, type of medicine side effects, and any other neurological or medical problems that place her at risk of injury.

Your first thought may be to hold your child back from trying certain camp activities, but this may be the wrong move. Restricting participation could set her apart from peers and take away opportunities that may strengthen her physical and emotional development. Participating in camp activities lets your child learn how to face and conquer new situations, make friends, and build self-confidence. Kids learn that they can cope without their parents and to rely on other adults to help them if needed. What better way to do this than at camp!

It’s also important that children see camp as a place to be a kid and have fun! So much of their lives may be spent around doctor’s appointments, hospitalizations, or taking medicines. For many children, seizures don’t limit their activity. Others with uncontrolled seizures or other neurological problems may not have the same chances. These children need to focus on having fun and being one of the kids, not set apart or limited because of seizures.

Before restricting activities, consider other ways to lessen the chance of injury in camp settings. There are no set rules for everyone, but there are common sense and practical tips to consider for all children. When seizures are part of the picture, take another look and talk to your child’s doctor or nurse ahead of time about what your child should or should not do while at camp. Also keep in mind the impact of other developmental problems your child may have.

Authored by: Steven C. Schachter | MD | Patricia O. Shafer | RN | MN
Reviewed by: Patricia O. Shafer | RN | MN | Joseph I. Sirven MD on 5/2014
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