Summer Camp Safety: Questions Parents Should Ask
Summer camps are a great way for children to have fun while learning new skills. But, for parents, their child's safety is a prime concern. We give you tips on the safety measures to look out for.
By Dimpey Tehlan
Summer vacation is a time for relaxation and rejuvenation before the start of the next academic session. It is also a time for children to learn through real life experiences. Games, summer activities and camps are opportunities where children learn important life skills in a practical manner. At summer camps, children come together to have fun and develop a sense of independence and confidence. They learn how to take care of themselves on their own and work within a team.
However, for parents the main concern is the safety of their child. They need to ensure that all the safety checks are in place, before they send their children to camps. So, if you are planning to enrol your children into a summer camp this year, consider the following points regarding their safety.
Questions to ask the camp staff
1. About location safety
Nature camps are usually very popular with children. However, parents need to talk to the camp directors about the safety of the location and the steps they have taken to ensure that every child is looked after. For example, a hilly area can have dangerous drops or a lakeside camping site may pose a threat for children eager to test their swimming skills. Other factors to consider are the weather conditions and the availability of emergency services in the chosen location. If it’s a day camp to a factory that houses heavy machinery, parents need to be aware of how the staff plans to look after each child’s safety during the tour.
2. About emergency contact numbers
Parents need to be able to reach the camp staff in case of emergencies or any queries they have. If children are divided into groups, parents must have access to the group leaders. You must also share your concerns regarding the routine with the camp directors before you send your child to the camp.
3. About food allergies and medication
Some children have food allergies or other medical conditions that need constant supervision. If your child is susceptible to any of those conditions, make sure that the staff are aware of the symptoms and know what medication to give in case of any allergic reaction or illness. Consult the camp directors or their medical staff about his specific medical needs before the camp starts.
4. About the camper to staff ratio
It is imperative to enquire about the camper-to-staff ratio so that your child gets the best out of the camp and her safety is ensured. For younger children, if the size of the group is small, it enables better peer interaction and learning.
5. About the camp ratings
Feel free to ask camp administrators for the names of parents who had their children at the camp in the past or for contacts of parents of children going to the same camp as your child. You can ask for reviews from these parents to get a better understanding about the environment and culture of the camp.
6. About the camp staff
It is necessary to ask the camp administrators if they have screened their staff before hiring them. Enquire about the background of the staff and where they received their training. Ensure that you have satisfactory and clear answers to all your questions about the staff.
Talk to your child
To ensure that your child has a great experience at the camp, you must talk to him about the following points.
- About safe touch and unsafe touch
Tell your child that no one is allowed to touch her in any way without her permission. Teach her what is a ‘safe touch’ and what is not. Teach her if, at any point, she feels uncomfortable with someone, she needs to find an authority figure and report the person immediately.
- About stranger danger
Tell your child not to talk to any strangers around the camp and stick to his group of friends. Teach him the risks associated with talking to strangers and ask him to be always aware of his surroundings.
- About camp rules and the ‘buddy system’
Your child should understand the importance of following the camp rules and the need to be in a group or have a ‘buddy system’ she could rely on. Ask her to always ask for permission from her camp instructors if she wants to go exploring and to take a friend along with her.
- About handling camp equipment
Your child will learn all sorts of skills at the camp, including how to pitch a tent. However, tell him to always have a camp staff member with him when he is handling any camp equipment. This will ensure that he doesn’t get hurt while learning to ‘rough it out’ in the great outdoors.
Summer camps make for great memories and learning opportunities. Empower your child to be safe and responsible, and let her go on a journey of self-discovery.
Dimpey Tehlan is a student and part of Safecity’s Writers Movement.
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