Friday, March 27, 2015

Thinking about summer camp?

When you have kids and are trying to figure out summer plans in the late winter/early spring, you are sort of catapulted straight into summertime.  Living in a large city like Houston, fortunately, there are many options for summer camps.  With that said, the field is narrowed by food allergies.  There is a lot to consider when deciding to send your child to camp.  My husband and I did not grow up going to summer camp so this was new territory for us.  How do you know which camp is right when your child has food allergies?  The questions started flowing and my mind started roaming.  We decided that the camp had to be close to our home, not far from a hospital, a staff knowledgable and comfortable with food allergies/using an epi pen and a staff receptive to my questions (I always have ALOT)!

I am a planner and find comfort in checking off my checklists (I might be a bit OCD:)), I wanted to share my mini camp checklist.  Here are some questions to consider when planning a safe and fun summer camp experience for your child:

1.  What is your child into right now (ie. LEGO's, princesses, learning a foreign language, creative writing, art, sports, etc...).

2. Are you or your child interested in a full day or a half day of camp?  Will your child be eating a snack/lunch during their stay?

3. What is your budget?

4. Contact camp director to schedule a pre-camp meeting to discuss your child's food allergies and plan. This is a good time to bring your child's action plan with their picture attached and emergency kit(s) to review with nurse, counselor, etc.

5. Can the camp adequately meet your child's health needs?  Do you feel comfortable with the camp and the counselor?

6. Will the counselor carry the epi pens/emergency kit if child too young to carry epi pen?

7. Is there a nurse available during camp hours?

8. Prepare your child (age appropriate)---wear food allergy bracelet, label ALL food items, including drinks, do not share food, save all edible rewards from camp until a parent/guardian can double check the ingredients, wash hands before and after snack and meals.

Our son (allergic to tree nuts, peanuts, and sesame') has attended week long camps at the Houston Arboretum, Duchesne's Dash Into Summer, and KidVenture.  I know it is a small sample but it has been a good start.  We have many positive comments about all of these camps and their staff.

Below is some useful information regarding summer camps mentioned:

Houston Arboretum 2015 Nature Camps

Dash Into Summer/Duchesne Academy 
Sarah Baker--Director of DASH


Please share any camp experiences you may have.  Also, our April 2015 meeting will be brainstorming and planning Food Allergy Awareness Week/May 2015!  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Support SB 66

Hello friends.  The time is now for our voices to be heard in support of stocking epinephrine auto-injectors in our TX schools!  Below is the email from FARE requesting support for SB 66.  If you do not want to become a member of FARE, please read the email sent from Dr. Carla Davis of Texas Children's Hospital, director of TCH Food Allergy Program.

Dear Friends of FARE in Texas:

A bill has been introduced in the Texas legislature that would require all public and open-enrollment charter schools to maintain a supply of undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors for use in emergencies. 

This bill, SB 66, will be heard on the morning of Thursday, March 12 by the state Senate Education Committee. We would like your help in encouraging committee members to vote in favor of this bill. You may visit the FARE Action Center and click on the Texas alert to send a message directly to Education Committee members. If you are not already a member of FARE’s Advocates Network please register first. We ask you to do this at your earliest convenience. You can read the bill language here. 

Please share this email with other food allergy families across Texas. Also, please let us know if you have any questions. You may contact me at


Jennifer Jobrack
National Director of Advocacy

Food Allergy Research & Education

From: Davis, Carla M 
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2015 12:40 PM
Subject: Epinephrine in Texas Schools – Your Help Is Needed!

Dear All,

I am asking for your help. Senate Bill 66 has been introduced in the Texas legislature that would require all public and open-enrollment charter schools to maintain a supply of undesignated epinephrine auto-injectors for use in emergencies. Children with food and insect allergy are at increased risk.

On September 12, 2013 a middle school student athlete named Cameron Espinoza (Jersey #66)  in Corpus Christi, Texas was stung by fire ants on a school football field while participating in a school sponsored football game.  He immediately developed a severe systemic allergic reaction and no epinephrine was available until EMS arrived.  During the delay, the child went into shock and respiratory failure.  He died four days later.  Had he received immediate treatment with epinephrine at the football field, his likelihood of survival would have dramatically improved.

PLEASE SUPPORT THIS BILL by sending a message to the Texas Education Committee who will hear the bill on Thursday. (See below.) PLEASE click the link below, personalize the letter and send, or, if you do not want to register with FARE, personalize and send the attached letter to your own senator and representative. If you do not know who this is, please click the following link:

Thank you in advance for considering this request.


Carla M. Davis, MD
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Director, Texas Children's Hospital Food Allergy Program

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