Dear Addy: National Safety Month

summer_vaca_dear_addy[1]Dear Addy,

My son is about to start summer vacation. While he is excited, I’m concerned about all of the activities he will be doing. It seems everything he enjoys involves risking a bleed. How do I monitor my child’s safety while allowing him to have fun this summer?
Anxious About Summer Break

Dear Anxious,
This is a timely question as June is “National Safety Month.” Ensuring proper care for your child’s bleeding disorder when your child is at camp or while your family is traveling can be challenging but easier if you are prepared.
If your child will be attending a summer camp, discuss your child’s bleeding disorder and treatment with the instructors overseeing camp activities before the camp starts. Explain to the staff which activities are okay for your child to participate in and which are not. Your HTC or HFA Member Organization can provide information on bleeding disorders that you can share with the staff. Educate your child on how to advocate for his/herself on whether an activity is safe or not when you are not around.
Before camp starts, talk with the camp medical staff, just like you would your school nurse, about your child’s medical needs. Leave an emergency “To Go” bag with them in case immediate treatment is needed.
If you are traveling, take along an emergency “To Go” bag so you are prepared for an emergency. To help you if you need to take your child to the ER, take along the Emergency Information Card developed by community members that includes pertinent medical information about your child. For kids in car seats who do not wear a medical alert bracelet, attached a Car Seat Emergency Tag to the car seat in case there is an accident and you are unable to direct first responders on your child’s bleeding disorder. For more emergency related resources, see HFA’s Emergency Toolkit.
Before you travel, locate the closest hemophilia treatment center (HTC) to your destination. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a tool to find the HTC nearest you when you are traveling. Once you find the HTC closest to your destination, give them a call and let the staff know that you will be traveling to the area.
Preparation and knowledge will give you and your child the confidence you need to be safe but enjoy vacation and summer camp time as well. Your child can have a fun, active, and safe summer with careful preparation and clear communication.

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HFA frequently receives questions from the bleeding disorders community related to advocacy issues. The questions often impact the entire community. In an effort to reach the largest audience possible with our responses to these widely applicable questions, HFA developed “Dear Addy.” Questions submitted to this column are edited in order to protect privacy and should be considered educational only, not individual guidance.