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3 Things to Know Before Your Kids Go to Summer Camp

a boy looking in binoculars outdoors
By Christopher Coble, Esq. on May 21, 2019

School's out soon, which means kids will be on their way to summer camps in the coming weeks. Most of us have fond memories of camp, and they can provide an educational summer adventure for your kids. But that adventure doesn't always come without risk, and maybe even the odd injury. There are things that parents can do, however, to make camp as safe as possible for their children.

Here are three things you can do before your kids go off to camp this summer.

1. Know the Camp

Unfortunately for parents, there is very little standardized oversight for summer camps, and what oversight there can vary by state. For instance, not all states require camps to be licensed, and 28 don't require criminal background checks for camp employees. This means it's up to parents to do their own research to ensure the camp is safe.

You should first make sure the camp is accredited, as the accreditation process requires camps to pass numbers health and safety tests. You should also inquire about the camp's staff: how they hire, train, and review staff, how old are the counselors, and what is the counselor-to-camper ratio? Also, do they have medical or emergency-trained staff on site? And while much of this information can be gleaned online through camp websites and internet reviews, nothing beats an on-site interview with camp managers.

2. Know Your Child's Limitations (and Make Sure the Camp Knows, Too)

Every camp is different and will involve different activities; some of which suit your child's skills and abilities, and some of which may not. Obviously if your child is struggling to swim well, a lot of water time will be a serious risk. And if your child is still using training wheels, a mountain biking excursion will probably be too much.

Similarly, if your child has any medical conditions or issues -- from asthma to allergies -- make sure camp staff are well aware. You'll also want to know that the camp has emergency protocols in place that address your child's specific needs.

3. Know What to Do If Your Child Is Injured

As we said, you want to know that a camp can care for your child in case of an emergency. And you'll also want to know what to do after an accident. Part of that is knowing who is responsible for summer camp injuries. The other part is talking to an experienced personal injury attorney about your legal options if your child is injured at summer camp.

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