CENTERPORT, N.Y. (CBS) About 14 million kids attend camps every summer. Now the American Academy of Pediatrics is releasing a new report aimed at keeping kids safe and healthy.
It's a quiet morning at Camp Alvernia in Centerport, New York, but in a few weeks hundreds of campers will be here.
Camp Director Ben Esposito and his staff have been preparing for months, and this year, with the recent measles outbreak, proof of vaccination is mandatory. "We've had some families that said, 'Okay, we're going to go and get the MMR vaccine.' We've had other families that have said, 'I would like a refund and we're going to find a different place for our kids," Esposito said.'
A new American Academy of Pediatrics report on summer camp health and safety recommends campers be immunized on schedule and that camps eliminate non-medical exemptions for vaccines. The report also highlights allergic campers know how to use their epi-pens, and that medical devices be easily accessible.
"We have to have an emergency plan in place for treatment for anything that might possibly happen. We do have a AED on site," Esposito said. "Certain types of medication we keep under double lock. Only trained medical staff can access them and administer those medications."
The American Camp Association says families need to do their homework before sending their kids off for the summer, and that starts with making sure the camp is accredited and regulated.
"There's, in fact loopholes in different states that allow camps to operate with no licensure. It means that there's no background checks being done on staff, it means that there's no medical plans in place," said the association's Susie Lupert.
The report also says parents should pick a camp that matches their child's interests and skills so they have a happy and healthy camper.