Are You Prepared For Summer Camp Dangers?
After national reports of 5-year-old Benjamin Hosch III’s drowning at a summer camp in Georgia this month, we were additionally saddened to hear of another young child’s death right here in Michigan who was attending camp in Kalamazoo County. The Portage Public Schools district says the boy, with about 20 other children, had been on a camp field trip when he was struck at a crosswalk.
The parents of Benjamin Hosch III are expected to file a civil lawsuit against the Georgia day camp while the Michigan boy’s death continues to be under investigation.
We believe deaths such as these are nothing less than horrific for all involved. Parents need to remain vigilant about the dangers of summer camps and try to identify the risk of negligence to avoid tragedy.
Choosing the Right Summer Camp For Your Kids
The risk of losing a child at a day camp may be particularly worrisome for parents with this recent news of several children’s wrongful deaths. The following are important questions, provided with the help of the American Camp Association (ACA), to ask the camp administration when choosing your child’s summer getaway.
1. How does the camp recruit, screen and train its staff?
Do counselors have criminal background checks? First aid training? Is there a Lifeguard on duty?
2.What about return rates?
The ACA says at most camps, 40-60 percent of the staff returns. If the number you’re given is lower, ask why. How many campers return? Fifty percent is good, and more is better.
3. What’s the ratio of counselors to campers?
ACA guidelines for overnight camps call for a 1:6 ratio for ages 7 and 8, 1:8 for ages 9-14; and 1:10 for ages 15-18. Day camp guidelines call for 1:8 for children ages 6-8; 1:10 for children ages 9-14; and 1:12 for ages 15-18.
4. How old are the counselors?
The ACA recommends that 80 percent of the staff be 18 or older and that all staffers be at least 16 and a minimum of two years older than the campers they supervise.
5. What medical staff work at the camp and what backup facilities are nearby?
While Michigan does have some regulations for camps, there is no federal oversight of camps’ health and safety. The ACA recommends that an overnight camp have a licensed physician or registered nurse on the site every day, and that day camps should have direct phone access.
6. What is the daily schedule?
You need to be provided with a daily schedule to ensure your child can participate safely and is comfortable with the activities outlined.
7. Will the camp be transporting the children?
What vehicles are used and how often are they inspected? Who drives them and what training do drivers have?
8. Is the camp ACA accredited? Check out online review sites.
Most important, do your research. Check to see that the camp is ACA accredited and licensed. Meet with the camp prior for a morning visit. Check online review sites to get another’s opinion and view of the camp. Google news articles to see if there have been any incidents at the camp.
If Your Child Suffers A Traumatic Injury or Death at Summer Camp
Even with doing your research, tragic injuries and sadly, even death, can still happen. If you have lost a child in a day camp accident, you may have a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death claim holds the responsible party accountable for negligence resulting in death and can ease the burdens of a grieving family. If a summer camp accident has impacted your family, call us today for a completely free consultation: 1-800-LEE-FREE.