How to Protect Your Minor Children at Summer Camp

School’s out for the summer, and one of the most common summertime activities for children are camps. Whether day programs or overnight travel excursions, summer camps provide personal growth opportunities, enriching social experiences, and lots of fun. Whenever a child is away from home and without his or her parents, however, it’s always a good idea to proactively ensure safety. 

How do you ensure your minor child is safe at all times, including when he or she is at summer camp?

This can be properly done in two main areas of his or her life. What are they you ask? Addressing their health and legal needs as early as possible. Let us share more insight on this important topic right here. 

Health Basics

Make sure your child’s summer camp has licensed medical professionals on-site,

such as a doctor, registered nurse or a similar trained professional. Notify this person of any unique health considerations and inquire about the summer camp’s emergency protocols. 

Camps are all about being outside, and summer months are obviously hot here in Virginia. Make sure your child’s camp takes heat and sun safety precautions to prevent some of the worst risks of exposure, including sunburn, heat exhaustion, and dehydration. High-SPF sunscreens should be applied every morning before heading outdoors, and children should drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Water safety is also critical. Summer camps often involve swimming in pools or lakes, and water activities like fishing, sailing, and kayaking. Make sure your child’s camp has certified lifeguards, that life jackets are mandatory, and that your child is properly screened for his or her swimming capability. 

Legal Basics

Children under 18 are not able to make their own binding legal decisions, so preparing certain documents ahead of time can be advantageous.

For example, a medical consent form could authorize a medical professional to treat your child without you being present.

Discuss with the summer camp before you sign up to determine if they have this type of form already in place as a part of the registration process.

Other important legal considerations include personal identification materials, and ensuring your own estate planning is set up to authorize another person to make important decisions for your child should you be unavailable. Remember, one of the most consequential actions parents can take involves long-term estate planning. If something were to happen to you while your child is away, what would happen to him or her? Divorced parents should also take steps to address any custody requirements involving travel.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Do not wait to ask us your questions and contact a local estate planning attorney to ensure your child will be taken care of and provided for in your absence.