Kids in camp? Don't welcome home more than your kids when they return!
We all know that any time people congregate in close quarters there is a higher likelyhood of contracting things like a cold or even the flu. When it comes to kids, lice is often a problem. These days, we have one more thing to worry about when welcoming our kids home from summer camp... Bed bugs!
In days past, welcoming your children home from overnight camp consisted of lots of hugs, kisses, stories of adventure and tonnes of laundry to be done. A quick check of half-healed scrapes and a bit of Polysporin was the extent of the 'post-camp checkup' and all was good in the world once again. However, these days - one more check must be done!
Overnight camps are usually set up with cabins that house roughly 8 to 10 kids per cabin in addition to the 'common areas' equipped with large seating and meeting areas. If just ONE camper arrives to camp with the requisite impregnated female bed bug it won't have taken long to infest the entire cabin that the camper resided in over the summer. The likelihood of infestation of some of the common areas is also quite high which means that your child may have been exposed and could possibly have brought bed bugs back with him or her.
Avoid bringing bed bugs into your house!
Okay, easy to say but how easy is it to actually do? Follow the points below to avoid brining bed bugs into your house when the kids return from summer camp:
1) Do not allow the kids to enter your home after picking them up from the camp bus before removing ALL clothing in the garage beforehand.
2) Bag the clothing - ALL OF IT - including shoes and seal the bags tightly
3) Hurry the kids into the house and right into a hot bath or shower (they're probably filthy anyhow and need a good clean after 4 weeks of unsupervised hygiene)
4) Any articles that they brought home that cannot be laundered should be washed thoroughly outside with soap and water.
5) If possible, take all of the bagged laundry articles to your nearest laundromat and wash with hot water and dry for at least one hour on 'high'. Make sure to wash and dry the duffle bag too!!!
6) Use new bags (or the thoroughly washed and dried duffle bag) to bring your laundry articles home with you.
Even by taking the appropriate steps it is possible that your home may still become infested so keep an eye out for the following in the three weeks following the return of your children to get rid of bed bugs:
1) Watch for a newly developed 'rash' appearing on your child's body
2) Keep a lookout for any itchy, red bites that may appear in groups of two, three or more
3) Inspect your child's bed, mattress and surrounding areas for signs of bed bugs that might appear.
Finally, if you want to be really sure that your child has not brought bed bugs home from camp you can have a bed bug inspection performed by a specially trained dog. Extremely accurate and reasonably priced, a K-9 bed bug inspection is some that people are turning to more each year to ensure that their precious little ones are the only ones spending the night at home after a long four weeks away.