Considering sending your kids to summer camp, but stressed after reading or hearing about horror stories from friends or on the Internet?
Sending your kids away from home for an extended period of time is definitely a big deal, but there are ways to minimize your child's risk. While there's no way to guarantee your child won't be injured at camp, there are a few simple ways to set your mind at ease:
- Make sure your child's camp is accredited by the American Camp Association, or ACA;
- Find out if the camp follows the law—seems silly to read, but we're interested in guidelines such as seat belts when transporting campers, lifeguard duty, etc.;
- Ask how many counselors the camp employs relative to its number of kids;
- Likewise, find out the age and training background of the counselors;
- Make sure the camp has proper policies and procedures in place for medications, safety equipment, discipline, CPR, etc.
Picking the right camp is half the battle. Go with your gut here, but remember—ultimately the risk of your child being injured at summer camp is very low.
That being said, accidents do happen. So what's the next step?
Summer camps fall under the same provisions of premises liability we've discussed before regarding hotels.
Basically that means if your child is injured at camp, and the camp could have reasonably prevented the injury, then they can be held legally responsible.
Depending on the situation, many different people could be responsible, including:
- The camp itself;
- Camp operators or owners;
- Or, even manufacturers of products that contributed to the injury.
It's important to note that many camps require parents to sign waivers for particularly risky activities—such as swimming or football—that absolve them from certain injuries and risks.
Parents are also required to sign a medical release prior to the start of summer camp. This allows staff to seek medical attention for your child; however, make sure that you have the option to pick up your child yourself in case of a non-emergency—you'll always want the option of taking your kids to a preferred doctor.
We know it can be stressful sending your child to summer camp for the first time. But by doing your research, you can at least have peace of mind that your kids will have a safe—and fun—experience.
From your friends at Kalfus & Nachman, Have a Safe and Fun Summer Camping!!