As a child I spent several summers in the mountains of West Virginia at a camp. We rode horses, swam, played sports and had a great time. We were carefree and worry free. But, times have changed. Many years later when my children wanted to go to camp in the mountains my wife and I had different thoughts about camp safety.
Would it be safe? Would they be safe? What precautions and preparations did the camp take to ensure the safety of our children? As a parent and an attorney these were my concerns. And they should be yours too.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a big believer in sleepaway camps. Children learn to be independent; parents get a break away from the kids. However, parents should do some work investigating the camp before shipping the kids off to the mountains.
1. Find out about Medical Policies and Procedures
Does the camp have a full-time doctor or nurse on premises? Is there a health care facility in easy reach to the camp? Is there anyone at the camp trained in a variety of health care issues? Are there special needs for your child, and if so, is the camp capable of caring for your child’s special needs?
Before your child goes to camp you should check their health and make sure they are able to handle the conditions. Make sure that your child has a full medical exam prior to attending camp and that he or she is completely up-to-date on their medical care and treatment. You should also provide the camp with notice of any specific allergies or issues which may affect your child. Make sure the camp has any specific medications on hand to assist your child if necessary.
2. Camp Safety Procedures
Camp activities include boating, horseback riding, sports and hiking. Ask about what safety procedures are in place for any physical activities your child may participate in while at camp. Find out who will be supervising the activities, what safety precautions available and what training do the counselors or leaders have that enable them to safely care for your children during the various activities.
3. Camp Transportation
If your child is to be transported during the camp season find out the method and manner of transportation. For example, if they are travelling in a bus, how safe is the bus? Ask how often are they serviced. Also, are the bus and the camp insured when transporting your child? Is the driver of the bus insured?
4. Emergency Contacts
You should make sure that you provide the camp with a useful and reliable emergency contact. Whoever is identified as the emergency contact should be a responsible person that is responsive and reliable. Provide email contact information as well as a secondary emergency contact. If you will be travelling or out of reach while your child is at camp, make sure that the camp has this information as well as the secondary emergency contact information
5. Camp Accreditation
There are organizations that review the safety of camps. The American Camp Association (ACA) is such an organization. This group reviews camp standards to ensure that your camp is meeting the highest standards and complying with camp laws and regulations.
Camp should be a great experience for both the campers and parents. Camps should provide a safe and nurturing environment for your children. Take an interest in your camp selection, ask for references, visit the camp website, check their credentials and remember to have fun.
How to Choose a Camp: Safety Tips. (n.d.). Retrieved March 08, 2017, from http://www.acacamps.org/campers-families/planning-camp/preparing-camp/how-choose-camp-safety-tips
McKeown, L. (n.d.). Keeping Kids Safe at Summer Camp. Retrieved March 08, 2017, from http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/keeping-kids-safe-at-summer-camp#4