Child’s Safety Camp Check List
By Allison O'Connor
Okay, so you think you found the perfect summer camp for your child. Now what? Well, before you enroll, you need to make sure the camp lives up to their reputation. This means asking questions. Kim Estes, Director of Education and Outreach at P.E.A.C.E. of Mind, has prepared a list of important questions that you should be asking the camp director before you ship your child off. So, keep this check list handy and choose a camp that is safe and healthy for your kids:
About the camp and staff
- What is the camp’s policy on training and screening volunteers and staff?
- Are the counselors and staff trained in CPR
- Does the camp have a nurse or doctor on staff for emergencies
- What is the reporting system for employees if something happens (abuse, suspicion or injury)
- What is their policy on how children are picked up and dropped off each day (ensuring the correct person is picking them up) ?
- Do they have a policy on prohibiting along (or closed door) one on one time between adult and child?
- Who will be caring for your child? Tale time to meet the counselors and staff who will be watching your child.
- Ask to tour the facility.
- Check camp references.
- If transportation is provided, make sure the vehicle is properly outfitted with safety belts and up to date car seats,
- Check to see if there have been any complaints or write ups about the facility, from parents or the state agencies.
Look for red flags
- Camps that do not have any safety policies in place such as staff screenings and background checks.
- Any signs of disrepair or filth of the facility.
- Anyone who seems to be preoccupied with your child.
- Anyone who tries to arrange alone time with your child.
- Anyone who is overly physical with your child.
- Anyone who makes inappropriate comments or asks questions about your child’s looks or body.
- Any organization that is resistant to show you their safety policies or is defensive when you ask.
Talk to your child about safety
- Encourage your child to talk about their day. As what their “favorite part” and “least favorite part” of their day was
- Encourage them to talk to you if something does not feel right or gives them the “uh-oh” feeling.
- Make sure they know who is on the “safe list” for picking them up
- Remind your child to check first, before accepting gifts or rides from ANYONE.
- Make sure your child has your home phone and cell phone either memorized or on a slip of paper in their backpack.
If someone seems “too good to be true”, they probably are, says Estes. Offering to babysit your child, offering additional rides home, wants to be a mentor to your child, arranging time alone with your child, offers overnight trips, extra “coaching” for sports or private tutoring lesson. Anything consistently above and beyond their regular camp duties is a red flag.
Kim Estes is the Director of Education and Outreach at P.E.A.C.E of Mind. Parent Education and Child Empowerment offers workshops for safer children, families and communities. For more imnformation, visit their website at: www.pomwa.org