Summer Camp Safety

One of the most nerve-wracking things a parent can do is send their children away to summer camp. It’s relinquishing a certain amount of control which can be difficult for any parent, but especially for parents of younger children. To put your mind at ease, look for certain features of the camp that will help ensure your child’s safety.

Accreditation

The American Camp Association (ACA) offers accreditation to camps that meet extensive standards of quality, health, and safety. If the camp you choose is accredited by the ACA, you can rest assured your child is in good hands.

Permit

A summer camp, just like any other business, requires certain permits in order to exist. For example, the camp must have a permit to prepare and serve food. You don’t want to find out later that the health department revoked a camp’s food services permit due to unhealthy practices. Check with local government offices to ensure the camp’s permits are current and in good standing.

Medical Care

Find out whether the camp offers medical care on site. Shockingly, many camps still do not provide basic care for sick or injured children. They don’t have to have a doctor on site at all times, but camp staff should be trained in basic first aid, and there should be a plan in place for transporting injured children to a nearby care facility.

Professional & Trained Staff

Camp counselors should have some sort of training in interacting with children. Working at a summer camp isn’t just a job like working a register at a retail store. It requires a completely different set of skills. Find out what kind of training camp staff goes through. More importantly, find out whether camp staff is screened before being hired. Ask whether the camp does a criminal background check on employees, and whether it requires a drug test. Any camp that hires people without making sure they’re safe to be around children is not a place you want to send your child for the summer.

In addition to overall training to work with children, camp staff should receive additional training specific to their everyday tasks within the camp. Again, all staff should be trained in basic first aid and CPR. People who work in the kitchens should have knowledge of food safety and proper preparation. If the camp has a pool or is near a lake, there must be lifeguards who are certified, and trained in CPR. Hundreds of children die every year in pool accidents that could have been prevented. Do everything you can to make sure your child isn’t one of them.

Healthy Meals

You probably don’t allow your kids to eat hamburgers and hot dogs every day at home, so you don’t want them to eat that kind of food every day just because they’re at camp. Those things are okay in moderation, but find out what kind of menu the camp provides. They should offer healthy options like fresh fruits and vegetables, and go easy on the sugary desserts. Also, if your child has special dietary needs