But before they begin packing those suitcases, says Early Show Health and Medical Correspondent Dr. Emily Senay, parents must make sure that the camp they have chosen will meet their children's health and safety needs.
How can you judge the safety of the more than 8,500 camps that cater to the needs of nearly 9 million American children every year?
Dr. Senay says some of the best evidence that a camp has made the extra commitment to provide a safe environment for its campers is accreditation. The American Camping Association is the only organization that accredits all types of camps across the United States based on 300 standards for health, safety and program quality.
Although accreditation does not, and cannot, guarantee that nothing will go wrong, it does assure parents that 14 mandatory standards are being met. These include:
- Emergency transportation
- First aid facilities
- Aquatic programs supervised by staff members certified in lifeguard training
- Health histories (including immunization) for all campers and staff
- Emergency exits from second-floor sleeping quarters.
- For more information, parents can visit the Web site for the American Camping Association at www.ACAcamps.org, or call (800) 428-CAMP.
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