Summer Camp Safety: How to Keep Your Kids Safe This Summer
Summer is a time when the sun is high in the sky, kids are playing in fields of grass, and parents are planning their children's camp getaways. Sending your child off to summer camp can be an exciting time for both you and your young camper, but accidents and illnesses still lurk away from home.
According to the 2006-2010 research study performed by the American Camp Association, campers and staffers tend to have twice as many illness events than injury events. So it is important that parents discuss sanitary measures and preventative steps to help their kids remain healthy at camp.
Communicable illnesses, allergic reactions, asthma flare-ups, heat stroke, and tick-bite related illness are some of the more common types experienced by campers.
In addition to these illnesses, injuries can result from playing sports and general activity. Bumps, bruises, sprains, and strains are general injuries that are recorded by camps across the U.S.
There are some accidents that may not be preventable, but there are many ways that parents can keep their kids safer and more prepared at camp.
Parents can do some pre-planning to ensure safer camp conditions. Before signing them up for their next camp adventure:
- Check that the camp your child is going to is accredited by the American Camp Association.
- Give the camp leaders a list of emergency contacts.
- Ask about the staff's training in both CPR and first aid.
- If your child is ill, keep them at home to reduce the spread of illness to other campers.
- Make sure your kids' vaccinations are up to date.
- Follow any camp guidelines that may indicate steps that should be taken prior to their arrival.
- Check that the facilities are safe where your child is staying.
What Should We Pack?
Helping your children pack for their camp getaway can be daunting, but there are some items that should always be on your list:
- Insect repellent — The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 30 percent DEET in your childrens' repellent spray.
- Broad-spectrum sunscreen — The Environmental Working Group suggests an SPF of 30 or greater.
- Head coverings — Be sure that they wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.
- Reusable water bottle
Teaching the Basics
Educating your kids about the basics of camp safety can make a difference in their camp adventures. By teaching them the following, you can help promote a healthier and safer experience:
- Discuss with your child the importance of remaining hydrated with non-carbonated, sugar-free fluids throughout the day.
- Ask that they avoid wild animals, and that they report any run-ins they may have with creatures in the wilderness.
- Talk about ways to avoid the spread of head lice through head-to-head contact.
- Show your kids how to apply sunscreen properly and talk about how frequently this should be done.
- Stress the importance of “sneezing in their sleeve” and washing their hands properly.
Prepare your campers for a safe and fun-filled camp experience.
- American Camp Association