Sleepaway Camp Safety For Your Child - 5 Tough Questions to Ask

Summer is here, kids are antsy and bored, and parents are ready for a break. What better solution than to find a wonderful sleepaway camp for your child to join? However, to ensure your child's safety, there are 5 tough questions you need to ask the camp administration before you write a check or help you child pack his bags.

Sleepaway Camp Safety

1) What is your screening process for your camp counselors?
Any reputable camp will background check and drug test their counselors before hiring them on for a summer job. They should be looking for criminal records and verify employment records.

2) How do you train your counselors?
At the very least, counselors should have 20 hours of in-person training. They should be taught how to deal with conflict management to avoid the temptation to bully or intimidate your children. Also, they should have basic training to deal with medical emergencies, including first-aid training and CPR. Ideally, they will have their Red Cross certification.

3) What trips do you have planned from the camp, and what are the qualifications of the staff leading them?
Camps often have excursions that go into a deep part of camp territory or even off camp grounds. These activities can be extraordinarily meaningful for kids, but they increase the probability of a crisis too. Ask if the counselor in charge of the trip is qualified for RTE, or "respond to emergency" situations. If your child has special medical needs, such as asthma or diabetes treatment, consider having them sit out more extreme excursions, such as night hikes deep into the woods.

4) Does the camp have emergency contingencies for all potentially dangerous situations?
This can also be awkward to ask, but the camp should have contingencies for common natural disasters in the area: earthquakes, hurricanes, forest fires, and so forth. They should also fully disclose any potentially harmful wild animals and plants in the area.

5) When were you accredited by the American Camp Association?
The last question will by no means cover all your bases, but it provides a certain level of protection for your child. The ACA sets national standards on health, safety, and camp operations best practices. Any camp that has not bothered to get accredited by the ACA may be a risk for failing to consider the potential hazards listed above.

In conclusion, sleepaway camp can be a tremendously positive experience for your son or daughter. You should consider giving them the opportunity to spend this time with new friends and nature. It is also a good mental break for you during the summer or winter breaks. However, you should do your due diligence to make sure the camp is covering all their bases to keep your child safe.


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