Safety at Summer Camp

Summer camps, whether day camps or sleep-away camps, offer a wealth of fun and exciting experiences for children during the out-of-school months. However, ensuring your child’s safety requires careful preparation and awareness. Here are detailed and up-to-date safety tips to help you get your child ready for a safe and enjoyable camp experience:

1. Make sure your child has had their annual physical exam.

All camps require up-to-date clearance and vaccination forms. If you do not have this information already, be sure to schedule a doctor’s appointment. This visit should include:

  • Vaccination Updates: Ensure all vaccinations are current, including any recommended boosters.
  • Health Assessment: Check for any new allergies or health conditions that may have developed.
  • Documentation: Obtain a detailed medical report. Most ALL camps require a recent (within the past year) medical examination report to confirm the child’s good health and up-to-date immunizations.

2. Provide the Camp with a Detailed Medical History

It is essential that the camp staff and counselors are fully informed of your child’s medical history. This includes:

  • Allergies: Clearly state any food, medication, or environmental allergies.
  • Chronic Conditions: Detail any chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, or epilepsy, along with the management plan.
  • Emergency Contacts: List primary and secondary emergency contacts in case immediate medical intervention is needed.

3. Research the Camp’s Policies and Procedures

Understand how the camp handles various situations to ensure it aligns with your expectations:

  • Homesickness Management: According to the American Camp Association, about 80% of campers experience homesickness. Check how the camp supports children in dealing with this common issue.
  • Emergency Protocols: Verify the camp’s emergency procedures for illnesses or injuries. Ensure they have access to nearby medical facilities.

4. Inquire About Daily Activities and Safety Measures

Knowing what your child will be doing helps you prepare them appropriately.

  • Activity Schedule: Request a detailed itinerary of daily activities.
  • Safety Training: Confirm that counselors are trained in first aid, CPR, and the use of EpiPens if necessary.
  • Activity Restrictions: If your child has any medical conditions, communicate these clearly to prevent participation in potentially harmful activities.

5. Prepare a Personal First-Aid Kit & Additional Protection

While camps are equipped with first-aid centers, sending a personal first-aid kit can be beneficial:

  • Essential Medications: Include items such as Benadryl for allergic reactions and EpiPens for severe allergies.
  • Basic Supplies: Pack band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and other basic first-aid supplies.
  • Instructions: Provide clear instructions on when and how to use these items.
  • Label Personal Items: Clearly label all personal items, especially medications, with your child’s name and dosage instructions.
  • Communication Plan: Establish a communication plan with your child and the camp, specifying when and how you will stay in touch.
  • Sun Safety: Provide ample sunscreen and educate your child on its importance. Ensure they understand the necessity of wearing hats and staying hydrated.
  • Insect Protection: Include insect repellent and advise your child on how to use it effectively to prevent bites and stings.

Summer camp can be a wonderful, enriching experience for your child, fostering independence and social skills. However, taking these proactive safety measures is crucial to ensure their well-being. By preparing thoroughly and maintaining clear communication with the camp, you can help create a safe and memorable summer camp experience for your child.