Injury Research and Policy Summer Camp Research :: Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio

Summer Camp Safety

About 11 million children and young adults attend summer camp each year. While there are many advantages to spending time at summer camp, there is, as always, the possibility of injury. In order to have the safest and most rewarding experience, it is important to choose the right camp for your child and to take a few suggested precautions.

Summer Camp Injury Facts

  • Overall, the risk of injury while at camp is low and compares to similar youth activities like sports or playing on playgrounds.
  • Injuries happen most often during scheduled camp activities that are supervised.
  • The risk of injury increases when camp lasts 14 or more days.

Packing Checklist

When packing for camp, remember to include the following safety-related items:

  • Antibacterial hand sanitizer
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Bug spray
  • Sterile wipes
  • Adhesive bandages
  • Needed medications (such as asthma inhalers and allergy medications)
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Baseball hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Water Bottle

Tips for Choosing A Camp

  • Look for camps that are accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA).
  • Make sure the camp director’s background meets ACA minimum standards.
  • Find a camp whose philosophy and program emphasis will be a good fit for your child.
  • Make sure the camp follows state laws regarding car seats, booster seats and seatbelts when transporting children.
  • Check references of the camp you are considering.

Questions To Ask About The Camp

  • What is the counselor-to-camper ratio?
  • What are the ages of the camp’s counselors, and what training do they receive?
  • How does the camp handle behavioral and disciplinary issues, special needs, emergencies, homesickness and other adjustment issues?
  • How is medication handled?
  • What policies are in place to prevent heat-related illnesses?
  • Is the sports equipment appropriate for participant age and level of development?
  • Does the camp provide and require the use of safety equipment such as helmets for activities like cycling, football, skateboarding, etc.
Nationwide Children's Hospital
700 Children's Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205 614.722.2000