How To Keep Your Child Safe at Summer Camp: 5 Must-Ask Questions

The weather’s warm, school’s out, and everyone’s excited for the fun that comes with long summer days spent outdoors. While you’re getting everything prepared for your child’s sports camp — sunscreen, water bottles, or packing an overnight bag — it’s important to spend some time thinking about athlete safety.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport is an independent nonprofit committed to building a sport community free of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse and misconduct. The organization helps foster safe, supportive sports settings for all through training and education, abuse prevention resources, accountability, and best practices for parents, coaches, athletes, and others.

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Photo courtesy of U.S. Center for SafeSport

What To Know Before Your Child Starts a Sports Camp

Research has shown that playing sports helps kids remain healthy and active, reduces the risk of anxiety and depression, can prevent diabetes and cancer, and can even improve executive control and brain function. Sport is a formative and beneficial experience in a child’s growth and development, and it’s important to understand how you can be your child’s biggest fan — and their most important resource and advocate.

As an engaged parent, you can proactively evaluate the summer program’s preparedness to prevent and respond to abuse and misconduct, whether your child is heading to a sleepaway soccer camp or playing in a summer-long sports league. All sport camps and organizations should have clear policies to protect athletes. These policies should define prohibited behaviors, limit one-on-one contact between adults and kids, and set requirements for abuse prevention training.

Here are some questions you can ask to set your child up for a successful and safe camp experience.

5 Must-Ask Questions For Camper Safety

Asking tough questions can feel uncomfortable. Yet, when it comes to your child’s well-being and safety in sport, being aware and informed is the first step to protecting them out on the field or court.

Here are five questions to ask a program administrator or head coach before your child heads off to camp. Answers to these questions may also be found in policies posted online.

  1. What are the criteria for volunteer and staff screening and background checks?
  2. How are program participants supervised during structured activities and free time?
  3. Do you have policies that limit unsupervised one-on-one contact between adults and minors?
  4. What are the established processes for reporting and responding to abuse and misconduct?
  5. What are the sleeping arrangements for program participants and overnight staff or volunteers, and how are they monitored? (For overnight programs)

Learn more about how to advocate for your child’s safety by exploring this full SafeSport Summer Safety Checklist.

Group of school children with teacher on field trip in nature, learning science.
Photo Courtesy of U.S. Center for SafeSport

Educational Resources To Support You and Your Child

The U.S. Center for SafeSport offers free online courses for parents, coaches, and other sport participants.

The SafeSport® for Youth Athletes course (ages 13-17) and SafeSport® for Kids course (ages 5-12) are designed to be completed alongside a child or teen, so they can learn about setting healthy physical boundaries and understand what a positive sport environment looks like.

Created for parents of youth athletes, the Parent and Guardian’s Handbook for Safer Sport provides answers to common questions, offering support to those with a child in sport.

Stay ready to recognize and respond to bullying or other forms of misconduct with SafeSport Ready, a new mobile app (Apple | Android), which features quizzes, articles, and helpful resources for parents.

Changing the culture of sport for the better is a driving force behind U.S. Center for SafeSport. Read more about U.S. Center for SafeSport’s commitment to ending abuse in sports from from CEO Ju’Riese Colon, who previously served as National Vice President of Child & Club Safety for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

Physically challenged teenage girl (amputee) taking tennis clinic.
Photo Courtesy of U.S. Center for SafeSport

How to Help:

Promoting athlete safety and well-being in and around sport takes all of us. Your financial support helps the U.S. Center for SafeSport create informed educational materials and resources for parents of youth athletes to provide a safer sports environment. By donating today, your contribution can help every athlete thrive.

Have a question? Reach out to U.S. Center for SafeSport at

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Allison Donohue is an editor and writer at the U.S. Center for SafeSport. Her written and edited content has been featured on a variety of media channels, including

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