This week Your Legal Corner discusses “safe summer and your children.”
The school year is starting to wind down which means summer is right around the corner. As the temperature increases, so do trips to the emergency room for children during summer vacation. According to the National Safe Kids Campaign, the four-month period from May to August is the most dangerous time of year for children under eighteen years of age.
Let’s face it-kids will be outside running around, climbing trees, swimming and exploring. Supervision is critical to keeping them safe. For many families, supervision is provided through camps, daycare and babysitters.
Here are some key tips to remember when planning structured activities for your children.
There are as many different camps as there are children. Important options to consider are age range, interests, price range and schedule. Some camps will last for several weeks in a rustic setting while other camps will have your children come home at the end of each day.
Please consider whether the camp you are considering is accredited with the American Camp Association (www.acacamps.org). What type of training have the camp counselors received? Do they know first aid and CPR? What is the level of supervision provided? Does it vary with the age of the child?
Please ask whether the camp is insured. Do they expect parents to sign a waiver absolving the camp from any responsibility regarding your child? Most camps require the parents or guardian to sign an agreement setting forth the obligations and responsibilities of each party. Please review the agreement carefully before signing to ensure what’s in writing is consistent with what you’ve been told by the camp representative.
Child Care Centers
Parents must decide whether they want their child cared for in a child care center or in a person’s home. All child care centers serving six or more children under the age of 13 must be licensed by the Department of Children and Families in New Jersey. Home-based child care is limited to no more than five children in addition to their own children and must be registered with the state as well.
Please ensure the care provider has references and inspect the premises to ensure they are safe and clean. Make sure there are written procedures for medical situations and emergencies. Further, make sure there are policies regarding check-in/check-out procedures. Check out www.njparentlink.nj.gov for more information.
Many families hire babysitters or nannies to care for their children. In New Jersey, there is no minimum age requirement to babysit a child. Generally, children under the age of 14 should not be considered for babysitting duties. Babysitters working a few hours a week are generally considered independent contractors but if they work fulltime they would be considered an employee for tax purposes.
A babysitter or nanny is required to fill out an Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9). Parents must verify the babysitter is legally required to work in the United States. There are many babysitting classes including ones sponsored by the Red Cross. Please visit www.babysittersnow.com to learn more about babysitting and babysitters in your area.
Till next time, God bless, keep smiling, when Your Legal Corner will discuss “Water Safety.”
Victoria M. Dalton is a dedicated Family/Elder Law Attorney with the Law Offices of Hoffman DiMuzio. Email correspondence to [email protected] or call 856-845-8243.
Please note that Your Legal Corner was created to provide educational material about the law and is not legal advice.