It’s about that time to start planning for your kids’ summer adventures. For many families that means sending the kids to summer camp somewhere far from home. While your children may be excited about the idea of nights by the campfire and days spent rafting down a river or learning a new skill, sending them away without parental supervision for an extended period of time can cause anxiety in even the most laid-back parents. If you’re sending your kids to summer camp in a few months, consider having safety conversations with them leading up to the moment they leave. The more confident your children are in managing their own safety, the better you will feel as a parent when they are away from home. Here are some summer camp safety topics to discuss.
As a parent, you should vet any summer camp for abuse precautions before you register your kids in any program. Make sure that the staff hiring and training practices ensure that sexual abusers are not tolerated, and that staff is trained to identify the signs of sexual abuse in a child. Educate your children on their own physical boundaries and the importance of saying no to being alone with an adult who makes them feel uncomfortable. Talk to them about how secrets between adults and children that are inappropriate in nature should not be tolerated.
Summer can be hot, even in places like the mountains. Make sure before they go off to camp that you talk to your children about the importance of drinking water and staying hydrated. Heat stroke and dehydration can be serious health concerns. If you are able to send water bottles with your child, make sure they have at least one that they can refill and take with them for different types of physical activities.
If your child will be involved in any water activities at camp, ensure that they are confident swimmers. Talk to them about the dangers inherent in different types of water, such as riptides at the beach or strong currents in rivers. It’s a good idea to enroll your child in a swim program prior to going to camp if you have concerns.
Allergies and Health
If your child suffers from any kind of allergies, especially food-related allergies, talk to them about the ways that they can be safe when you are not able to regulate their environment and diet. Any child with food allergies should have an EpiPen in case of emergency and the camp should be made aware that there are restrictions on your child’s diet. Talk to your kids about how they may not be able to enjoy all the foods with their friends and give them a list of approved foods for snacks and meals. The more knowledge the camp and your child have about the allergy and alternatives, the better the chance of avoiding a health emergency.
Before you send your child to camp, make sure that the camp has an emergency plan in place for any unforeseen disaster. Unfortunately, we have seen young people put in extremely dangerous situations lately, and therefore, it’s important to educate your child on ways to stay safe if there is some kind of dangerous situation while away. This should be an ongoing conversation between you and your child about how they can protect themselves from a variety of potential scenarios.
Safety should always be a top priority when considering a summer camp and preparing your child to go away. At Panter, Panter, and Sampedro, we are dedicated to the safety of our community and our children. We will continue to help provide the community with safety tips and topics.
Mitchell J. Panter is Board Certified as a Civil Trial Lawyer by the Florida Bar and National Board of Trial Advocacy, primarily practicing in the areas of Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, Product Liability, Sexual Assault, Food Contamination and Premises Liability Cases. You can reach Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305 662-6178. You can also visit the office at 6950 N Kendall Dr., Miami, FL 33156.