Summer Camp: Keepin’ it Safe!
Summer camps are a $ 15 -billio n industry, according to the American Camp Association (ACA). With swimming, horseback riding, rockwalls, obstacle courses and other fun physical and arts-related activities, it is easy to see why more than 11 million people attend either a day or overnight camp each year. But along with different types of physical activities and fun, there are many opportunities for campers to get hurt if proper procedures and safeguards are not in place and followed correctly. Many different types of injuries can occur, including brain or spinal cord injuries, transportation accidents, food poisoning, food allergy reactions, drowning and near-drowning, burn s, broken bones, insect stings and more.
Summer camp accidents can also present a number of complex legal issues. Most summer camps require that you sign some type of waiver when you register. These waivers can be enforceable and prevent you from pursuing legal action should you or your child become injured. It is wise to keep a copy of everything you sign, and contact an attorney if you or your child is injured. The attorneys at Schwarz & Schwarz, P.C. can help you navigate through what can be a very stressful time, and can answer your questions regarding liability and your rights.
Important things to consider when choosing a summer camp:
- Make sure the camp is ACA-accredited and has no history of problems.
- Make sure the camp has appropriate safety policies and procedures in place, training for staff (CPR, First Aid, AED), and access to emergency medical assistance.
- Find out how the staff is screened and if the camp notifies camp families of known issues with any of their staff.
- Find out how the camp screens visitors.
- Visually inspect the camp, especially bunks and buildings.
Things to remember to help keep your campers safe:
- Make sure emergency contact numbers are valid and updated.
- Make sure both the camp nurse and your camper’s counselor are aware of activity restriction, allergy information, and emergency medications.
- Make sure your camper is aware of the camp’s rules, safety policies and procedures.
- Make sure your camper dresses appropriately for the weather and activities.
- Make sure your camper knows to stay hydrated throughout the day and has access to water.
- Make sure your camper wears and brings sunscreen, and can self-apply it.
- Make sure your camper understands what kind of touching and behavior is appropriate and what kind is not.
- Follow-up with your camper each day (or when they return home). Ask questions!