If your child has a stinging insect allergy, particularly if the allergic reaction is severe, chances are good that you get a bit nervous when they head outdoors without you. Summer camp is the ultimate in experiencing "the great outdoors," and it's perfectly natural for you to be concerned about how any potential allergic reactions will be handled. Here are some tips to keep in mind when getting your child ready for summer camp.

Wait Until Your Child Is Old Enough

Although many camp programs are available for young children who have just finished kindergarten or the first grade, many parents of highly allergic children choose to keep them out of programs like this until the children are old enough to carry and, if necessary, administer their own rescue medications. This is because while all summer camp programs should be well-supervised, there will not be one-on-one care. A very young child might not be able to alert a counselor of the early symptoms of anaphylaxis.

Children who are eight or nine years old are often able to take responsibility for not only carrying but also administering their own epinephrine injectors if necessary. Talk to your child's pediatrician or allergy specialist for more information.

Send the Correct Documentation

Most camps require that participants have a medical form on file. When filling out one for your child, be sure to include not only your phone number and the number of your chosen pediatrician but also the name and number of your child's allergy specialist. Should an emergency occur, the hospital personnel might need to reach this specialist for specific insight on your child's condition.

Send the Correct Clothing

Just as you would at home, provide your child with only closed-toe shoes and clothing that is not loose enough to trap a stinging insect. Choose muted or darker colors rather than those in yellow, bright pink, orange, or red, since these can attract bees. A medical alert bracelet is also helpful and will tell staff members and anyone else interacting with your child that he or she is at risk of an anaphylactic reaction.

As long as you check that all staff are properly trained and know what to do in case of a severe allergic reaction, you can feel confident about your choice to allow your child to experience summer camp. It's also a great step toward helping your child to be responsible for his or her health.