Summer Camp Safety Tips

Kids run in a field along with their camp counselor.

For three years, I volunteered as a camp counselor at Lake Arbor Summer Enrichment Camp, a summer camp for children aged 6 through 12. The camp was designed to be an enriching experience for kids, and activities during the day included tennis, swimming lessons, creative writing and chess. We also organized field trips to places and landmarks in Washington, D.C. such as the Smithsonian, the National Air and Space Museum and Frederick Douglass’s house. The campers got a lot out of it, and they showcased it during chess tournaments and talent shows. The talent shows were especially great; the kids played songs that they learned on piano and acted out plays they made themselves. I specifically remember those plays because there was a time when some of the younger kids needed a counselor to be in theirs… and I ended up doing just that!

Working at the camp was a blast, and I got to play an active role in ensuring the safety of the kids. I believe that all campers should be able to have a safe, fun experience like the children I worked with, and parents and counselors can play an active role in making that happen. Here are some tips to guarantee that your child is going to be safe and secure at summer camp.

  1. Campers should drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Summer days can get very hot, especially when humidity is high and few clouds are in the sky. If a child doesn’t drink enough water, heatstroke and dehydration can occur. Remind your child of the importance of drinking water throughout the day.
  2. Make sure that your child doesn’t swim unless the pool is supervised by adults. The pool can be a potentially dangerous place, especially since some kids may not know how to swim well. Children should never be swimming unless there are lifeguards and/or counselors watching over the pool, so make sure that your child doesn’t enter the water unless there’s adult supervision. Check out Safe Kids’ other water safety tips to learn more.
  3. Remind your child to be watchful when walking near streets on field trips. Make sure that your camper knows to stay on the sidewalk and look both ways before crossing the street. Additionally, make sure that they don’t get distracted with mobile devices. When I was working as a counselor in 2016, Pokémon Go had just been released and a few kids were particularly fascinated with it, so I had to make sure they were aware of their surroundings on our field trip, even as we were walking through the zoo with real animals, not Pokémon. For other pedestrian safety tips that you can pass along to your child, check out Safe Kids’ resources.

Summer camp is a great opportunity for children to grow, and parents and counselors can make that experience all the more enjoyable by promoting safety. We can all make it a safe and fun place for kids to meet new friends and develop new talents.