Day Camps Not Regulated by State, County

Hundreds of children are pouring into day camps in California, but you may be surprised to learn that such camps aren’t regulated by the state.

San Diego County officials said day camps aren’t regulated by the state or the county. Still, local organizations who run camps said there is plenty of oversight.

The question arose after two 9-year-old girls had to be airlifted last week after suffering heat exhaustion during a hike with a YMCA group at Cedar Creek Falls. The hike was challenging and the temperature at the time was around 90 degrees.

YMCA La Jolla, which hosted the day hike, is investigating the incident, but noted that the children are safe and healthy and have returned to the camp.

While not regulated at the state or county level, Joe Muth, who directs day camps at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, said day camps are accredited by the American Camp Association, which lays out tough safety standards.

Are the children’s immunizations up to date? Are there lifeguards during swimming activities? Are the facilities safe? That association ensures day camps meet those types of standards.

Safety advocates say it’s also up to the parents to educate their children to speak up if they’re not feeling well.

“Just look at it from your own safety plan,” recommends Mary Beth Moran of Safe Kids San Diego. “If you were going to do an activity, what were the safety measures you would have in place as a family?

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