There are two usual reactions parents have when seeing their kids off to summer camp: One is a relief that everyone will have a fun vacation, especially the parents who can focus on unwinding and having more time to themselves. The other is fear and worry, as their children could be in danger and they won’t be able to help them.
Without exception, it’s more fun to be in that first group, but the parents in the second group have a point: When you sign up with a summer came, you are giving control of your child’s safety over to the staff, and if that staff isn’t prepared to take the problem seriously, then you should be worried.
If you want to stay in the happy, carefree first group, look over the camp in person when the camp counselors are there. Make sure there are enough people old enough to show maturity and responsibility, instead of a pack of young teens who are going to have their eyes on other counselors the entire time.
Are there enough counselors to look over all of the kids, is there a nurse on staff who can treat any minor injuries that do occur? Does the camp have a good reputation with other parents? These are all important questions to answer before the summer begins.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a day camp or an all-summer camp: Your kids will be under the care of someone else, and there will be chances where a negligent person could fail to keep them safe. It’s no different than a daycare center, where children don’t go overnight but can still be at tremendous risk if not looked after carefully.
Camps need to have the correct safety gear for the activities they promised they will perform. It would be pretty egregious to take kids out on a boat without life jackets, and fortunately, safety regulations are so well known on that subject that we’re not aware of anyone who has done that. You should be more concerned about the games of tackle football played without helmets and pads.
Negligent behavior, where summer camp staff fail to protect kids from common, preventable risks are the makings of a personal injury lawsuit. Some serious injuries, like a twisted ankle, are fairly hard to prevent and would generally not be appropriate for a civil suit.