Summer Camp Safety: Keeping Your Child Safe This Summer
June 14, 2017
Summer camps can be a win-win for parents and children. Working parents have a place for their children to go during summer vacation and kids get to participate in outdoor and educational activities without it feeling too much like school. The model works so well, that the summer camp industry pulls in about $3.6 billion each season. More than 14 million campers set off each year in the United States.
But just how safe is the summer camp you have chosen for your child? How can you ensure your child’s safety when he or she is miles away?
Questions to Ask
Researching the camp before signing a registration form is the best way to reduce your child’s risk. Here is a list of questions you should ask before you pack your child’s bags for camp.
Is the camp licensed?
Each state has different guidelines and rules that a camp must comply with to be licensed. These usually cover sanitary conditions and food safety.
Is the camp accredited?
Accreditation differs from licensing in that accredited camps must follow strict, national guidelines set by the American Camp Association (ACA). The ACA does regular, independent safety audits for transportation, health care, management and staffing at the camp.
How does the camp screen employees?
Knowing that the camp to which you intend to send your child does thorough background checks on all employees — not just counselors — can give you better piece of mind about who will be around your child.
What type of training do the counselors complete?
You want to know that any counselor can address an immediate health concern if necessary. Ask if the counselors are required to be CPR-certified, and if they have additional training.
What is the camper-to-counselor ratio?
There is a reason why child-care centers have a limit to the child/teacher ratio. If a counselor is overwhelmed with too many campers, accidents may happen more quickly.
Is there a certified medical professional on site?
By design, camps are often located in rural areas and potentially miles away from the closest primary care physician or hospital. You will want to know that if there is a medical emergency involving your child, that someone who can address it is on site.
What is the camp’s procedure in case of a natural disaster?
While the chances of a natural disaster occurring while your child is at camp may be slim, you will want to know if the camp has emergency procedures and if they are sufficient. Damaging winds from storms and tornadoes have been known to knock down trees at camps locally, causing destruction and even injury.
How does the staff handle food allergies?
If your child has a food allergy, you will want to know how the kitchen prepares and serves food, and if they serve any allergens.
Do you need to provide any safety equipment?
What would a summer camp be without activities? However, some of those activities might require safety equipment, such as helmets and knee pads. You don’t want your child to miss out on an activity if you neglected to pack safety equipment because you assumed the camp would provide it.
Preparing Your Child
After you have interviewed the camp, you will want to prepare your child for their extended stay away from home. This means going beyond purchasing bug repellent and sunscreen. Speak to your child about inappropriate behavior — not just his or hers — but what is inappropriate behavior for counselors, staff and other campers. Talk to your child about what to do if they witness or experience inappropriate behavior and create a plan of action in case of an emergency.
If your child has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, KBG may be able to help. Contact one of our attorneys 24/7. We will fight to get you the Results You Deserve®.