How to pick a safe summer camp for your kids

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The lazy days of summer may seem like they are a long way off, but for parents of kids who are old enough to go to camp, it's "go" time to select the right program for your kids.

Anne Clair Oakar, a mother of three in Cleveland, says she did her research early on the summer camp where her girls will make lifetime memories and friendships. She asked a lot of questions.

"How many people are overnight there?" she asked. "How many adults stay at the camp? Is there a nurse on staff? Do they have medical protocol in place?" 

Security expert Tim Dimoff says you should thoroughly check out the camp's background.

"As far as the camps go, you want to inquire how long have they been in business," he said. "You want to inquire about if they've ever had any problems. You want inquire would you have any people that have had kids here before that we could talk to- references."

Dimoff says to make sure the camp does thorough background checks on their staff, search the internet for any comments or information anyone may have posted on the camp and ask questions like, how long have members of their staff have been with the camp? Having long time employees tells you something about the level of commitment on the part of the staff - and may give you an idea of how well run the camp is.

Oakar says she used the American Camping Association as a guide for safety. If your camp is ACA-accredited it means that the camp has undergone a thorough review that includes up to 300 standards, "from staff qualifications and training to emergency management," according to their website. The ACA works in conjunction with organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Red Cross to establish safety standards.

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