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Summer Camp Safety Tips

It’s that time of year again – time to send the kids to their favorite summer camps! Houston is home to several popular youth camps, from art and theater programs to overnight sports programs and outdoor camps. Summer camps present a number of excellent opportunities for children, but they can also be hotspots for injuries. Protect your child by staying informed, prepared, and ready for anything. This summer, send your kid off in confidence with this safety tips list.

Get to Know Where Your Child Will Be Staying

There’s no such thing as asking too many questions when it comes to your child’s summer camp experience. Thoroughly research the camp before making your decision. Check for accreditations through the American Camp Association to ensure quality of care. Look for reviews from parents who have sent their children to the camp in the past. Visit the camp yourself and have a look around in person. Red flags may include:

  1. Property hazards. Sharp objects, rusty playground equipment, lack of security, and unsecured pools are all potential property risks that could injure your child. The campground should remedy these hazards before you allow your child to stay.
  2. Inadequate supervision. Does the camp have an inadequate number of supervisors for the amount of children who will be camping? Do supervisors appear too young, inexperienced, or poorly trained to handle kids? These are warning signs for a potentially unsafe camping experience. The younger the children, the more supervisors necessary. The ratio should be higher at camps for children with special needs.
  3. Improper emergency preparedness. Ask about the camp’s emergency plans in the event of a natural disaster or an intruder. Look for emergency devices such as first aid kits, EpiPens, and flotation devices as appropriate. Staff should have some sort of CPR and First Aid training.

Go with your gut when it comes to choosing your child’s summer camp. If you have a bad feeling about the camp, its managers, or the staff, keep searching for a different camp. If you send your child to the same place every year, visit the property each time to ensure consistent safety and quality. Voice any concerns you may have about the safety of the camp with its owners.

Give the Camp Vital Information

Nothing is more terrifying than learning your child sustained a serious injury at camp – a week ago. Avoid this situation by making it easy for camp operators to reach you or a family member in case of an emergency. Most camps will ask for emergency information anyway, but it doesn’t hurt to make sure they have a way to contact you, another parent, and one other non-related backup contact. The sooner the camp can notify you of an injury, the sooner you can take your child home and investigate what happened while he or she heals.

It is also important to give the camp any allergy-related or medical information they need to take proper care of your child. If your child has a condition or health issue such as asthma, ADHD, or food allergies, send his/her medical records to the campsite ahead of time. This information could save your child’s life in an emergency.

Prepare Your Child for Camp

Make sure your child knows what he or she is getting into. If it’s an overnight camp, your child should feel comfortable being away from home for an extended period of time. Prior to an adventure camp, prep him/her on outdoor hikes and swimming lessons. For a sports camp, get your kid into the habit of daily activity well before enrolling. Most camps require doctor’s checkups to check for undiagnosed illnesses. Summer camp can lead to some of your child’s best memories – if an injury doesn’t get in the way. Keep your child safe this year with a bit of preparation.

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