Protecting Your Kids at Summer Camp

iStock_000000099703XSmall.jpgIf you’re like most parents whose kids are headed to sleepaway or day camp this summer, you are frantically trying to fill out forms, buying packing supplies and counting the days until you wave goodbye to your kids from a department store parking lot.
For those parents whose kids are leaving home for the first time, the entire process can be overwhelming. In fact, filling out all those forms can be downright maddening. The question is – how much should the camp know about your child and when could that information put their identity at risk?
Here are some tips to keep your kids safe and secure at summer camp even when you’re not there to tuck them in at night.
1. It’s okay not to share everything there is to know about your child: These days, camps are sending letters to parents explaining that if they are uncomfortable putting in writing any specific information about their child, they are welcome to omit that information or discuss it with the camp director by phone.
2. Never share your child’s social security number with their summer camp or doctor. While you may be able to trust the camp director or your pediatrician – you never know who might be working in the back office who could potentially steal your child’s identity.
3. Consider enrolling in an identity theft protection service for your family. The more you share, the more you put your entire family at risk. In fact, in the last five years alone, child identity theft has increased over 300% and children’s identities have been stolen at schools, camps and hospitals. Consider enrolling in a service like which monitors your entire family’s credit year round and alerts you if someone has attempted to access your information.
4. Arrange for your child to skype with other campers prior to attending camp. If this is their first time at camp, consider introducing them to their fellow bunkmates via skype. That way, they will feel more comfortable if they know the kids they will be spending the summer with before they even set foot on the bus.
5. Attend sleepaway camp with a friend or sibling. Sometimes the best camp experiences take place when you do it with a friend or have a sibling nearby. You don’t necessarily have to bunk with a close friend, but it’s good to go to sleepaway camp with someone who makes you feel at ease when your parents are several miles away.