Published:  01:15 AM, 10 May 2019

Summer camp safety

Summer camp safety

The long lazy days of summer will soon be upon us and that calls for pool parties, barbeques and for many Laval children, summer camp. Summer camp is a great opportunity for children to become more independent and make new friends while creating lasting memories and having loads of fun.

For some children, preparing for camp can be worrisome. They may be nervous about what the days will bring. As parents, you want to reassure them and give them good advice to help them brave those days.

Pina Arcamone, Director General of the Missing Children's Network, agrees the number one concern of all parents is safety. Arcamone has a few safety tips for preparing children (and parents) for summer camp.

To ensure a safe summer, Arcamone recommends parents reinforce the following safety rules with their children:
1)    Ensure your child knows their full name, address and telephone number. Should your child get lost or need to reach you in an emergency, he or she will need this personal information easily accessible at all times.

2)    Avoid identifying items with your child's name clearly visible. A child will respond more readily to a stranger if he is addressed by name. Tale care to place identification labels on the inside of backpacks and lunchboxes instead.
3)    Your child should always ask for permission from their counsellors and monitors before going anywhere. You must always know where your child is and keep them informed of your whereabouts as well.

4)    Remember, there is safety in numbers. A child that is accompanied by a friend is less likely to be accosted by an individual with questionable intentions. Check out your child's friends and get to know their parents and other adults who spend time with your child at camp all day.

5)    Make sure your child understands he does not have to engage in conversations with strange adults who approach him. Remind your child to always keep a safe distance of at least three giant steps between themselves and a stranger.

6)    Teach your child to always stay on the designated route when walking to and from camp and identify safe havens along the route where they can seek refuge if they need help. This can include a police station, a grocery store, or anywhere they can safely call home for help.

Reminding your child of these simple tips and keeping an open dialogue with your children, is the best way to keep them safe at summer camp and all year round.

The writer is a freelancer

---Kathy Tsolakos

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