Only half of parents feel very confident when they can tell if summer camp is safe and healthy for their child.
Sarah Clark, MPH, co-director of Mott Poll, said: “Parents often assign camp staff to supervise their children for long days, even overnight, during the summer.
“But it’s not always possible for parents to consider whether the camps they choose are prepared to care for all campers’ needs and respond to health and safety emergencies. are not.”
The nationally representative report is based on responses from 1,020 parents with at least one child aged 6 to 12 who were surveyed in April.
Nearly half of parents say they are considering overnight or day camping for their child, with more than half expecting their child’s involvement to last several weeks.
Logistics services such as location, hours, and cost are on parents’ lists of considerations, and for about two in five parents, activities provided are essential influences. feebleness. Less than a third of parents also said it was important for camps to enforce limits on electronic devices and social media, and about one in six wanted to make sure their children were there. out side.
Safe for campers
When it comes to safety, nearly three-quarters of parents say they seek information on staff-to-child ratios while more than three-quarters are interested in first aid training among staff and inspectors. camp or safety ratings. More than half are interested in emergency preparedness plans.
Most parents believe that if a camp is accredited, it has been inspected within the last one to two years and staff have received safety training.
As families enter their third summer in the pandemic era – and as children under 12 become eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine for the first time – some say COVID precautions are needed. essential for their camping decisions. But of those who do, three-quarters support the requirements for masks and vaccines while one-quarter prefer the camp to have none of these mandates.
Mandatory vaccinations and face coverings can minimize disruption to camp operations due to COVID-19 outbreaks and also limit the risk of campers transmitting COVID to other family members, says Clark.
One in 12 parents reported that summer camp needed to address their child’s specific health issues, including allergies, medication needs, physical disabilities or health concerns. mental health.
“Parents should talk to the camp director to make sure the camp can meet their child’s health needs,” says Clark. “Parents cannot assume that health-related information about their child has been shared with all the appropriate groups.”
Things Clark advises parents to consider before sending their kids camping:
- If campers are in a remote area, such as a lake or forest, ask about the camp’s extreme weather policy and whether a safe shelter is available near the campsite.
- If camping sessions involve sports or other physical activities, make sure staff have basic first aid training and have supplies on hand. If the camps include swimming, ask if a certified lifeguard will be available.
- If a child has health needs, see the staff member who will supervise the child to answer any questions and make sure they have the parent’s emergency contact information available. Do not assume the information has been communicated.
- If a child is allergic to a food or other food, parents should ensure that emergency treatment is available (e.g. an Epi pen) and that staff are trained in its use.
- If parents are considering overnight camping, they should assess the child’s willingness to be away from home. If the child seems anxious, parents can arrange for them to speak with a previous camper or a family friend who can share their experiences.
- Be aware of camp policies regarding face coverings and COVID shots and whether there are isolation guidelines in the event of an outbreak or exposure.