Summer camp is a wonderful opportunity for kids to enjoy nature, make new friends, and get healthy exercise all summer long. Whether it’s a day camp or sleep away camp, safety is always a number one concern. Scrapes and bruises are common, but what about more serious injuries? How can you ensure that your child stays safe and healthy at summer camp?
Summer Camp Safety Checklist
- Is the camp accredited? To obtain accreditation, a camp is required to pass hundreds of health and safety tests. If the camp is not accredited, it doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t send your child there, but ask why they are not.
- How does the camp hire and screen counselors and other employees? Make sure that every person who will be working in the presence of children has received a criminal background check. If the camp doesn’t do employee screening, keep looking.
- What is the camp’s policy in the event of a medical emergency? Is there a nurse or other medical personnel present at all times? Where is the nearest hospital and how long would it take for an ambulance to reach the camp?
- What is the policy on discipline? It’s important for many parents to know that a camp’s disciplinary policies match their own, or that they are at least comfortable with them.
- What is the counselor to camper ratio? According to the American Camping Association, the organization tasked with accrediting summer camps across the country, appropriate ratios are as follows:
- 1:6 for kids between the ages of seven and eight;
- 1:8 for kids between the ages of nine and 14; and
- 1:10 for kids between the ages of 15 and 18.
- Ask around or look for online reviews. The best scenario is to get referrals from friends and family whose children have gone to the camp. If this is not possible, do an online search for reviews. Look for a camp with a lot of positive reviews, and few or no negative ones. A MA personal injury attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you have been injured due to another’s negligence.
Safety Hazards at Summer Camp
Even after doing your homework, it’s a good idea to educate your children about the most common summer camp safety hazards. These include areas of water, playgrounds and recreation areas, and sun exposure.
- Water areas carry the highest risk. Lakes, ponds, rivers, and swimming pools can provide endless hours of fun, but they can also be deadly. Children should be able to swim, and they should know to never go anywhere near water without adult supervision. Ensuring that the camp’s counselor to camper ratio is adequate, and that all camp staff are CPR certified is of paramount importance. Children under the age of 12 should always wear swimming vests or life jackets—ensure that this is a policy of the camp.
- Playgrounds can also be dangerous. Falls from high places and poorly-maintained or rusty/broken playground equipment can result in broken bones, severe lacerations, traumatic brain injuries, and even death. A Boston personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by another’s negligence.
- Overexposure to the sun can also lead to serious injuries. If your child is attending a day camp, slather him/her in sunblock before setting off each morning, and ensure that camp counselors will help them re-apply as the day goes on. If it’s a sleep away camp, ask about policies on sun protection. Do they help smaller children apply sunblock? Do they provide ample access to water throughout the day, and encourage kids to take frequent water breaks to prevent dehydration and sunstroke?
Altman & Altman, LLP—Boston’s Premier Personal Injury Law Firm
If you have been injured due to the negligence of another, the skilled legal team at Altman & Altman, LLP can help. We have been protecting the rights of accident and injury victims for more than 50 years. It is our goal to get you the compensation you deserve, so that you can get on with your life. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP today for a free and confidential consultation about your case.