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After a year of school, many kids are looking forward to summer with all the usual excitement. Summer camp is a great way to keep kids occupied and socialized when school is out. There is no doubt that kids make long-lasting memories at summer camp. Because of this, more than 11 million children and adults attend either a day or overnight camp each year. When most people think of summer camp, they think of campfires, long baseball games, kickball, and tennis, not to mention fun in the swimming pool or lake.
While some kids will have nothing but a fun-filled summer, the unfortunate reality is that serious physical injuries will once again be a common occurrence. The types of child injuries a child can sustain from negligent parties during the summer can dampen their experience and lead to long-term, or even permanent, disability.
Children can be injured on their way to or from the summer camp. For example, if the bus they travel on is involved in an accident, your child can sustain serious injuries. Because many buses do not employ the use of seat belts, children can be injured if they are thrown from their seats or if their heads hit the back of the seats in front of them. It is the responsibility of the bus driver to get children to and from the camp safely, and the driver is liable for any injuries that occur as a result of a bus accident.
While most people think of drowning when they think of pool accidents, this is just one of many injuries that occur in and around the popular camp attraction. Children often suffer injuries in slip and fall accidents when running around the pool or from roughhousing with a fellow camper in the water. Most of these accidents occur when there is not enough supervision in the high-activity area.
Heat Stroke or Severe Sunburns
Campers often spend hours out in the sun and heat, engaging in outdoor activities. When counselors fail to encourage proper hydration and sunscreen application or allow for adequate rest, the consequences can be devastating to campers. Heatstroke is a medical emergency that occurs when the body’s temperature rises too high. This heat illness can lead to central nervous system injury or even death if not treated quickly.
Misuse of Equipment
Most summer camps boast an impressive collection of sporting and outdoor equipment. Poorly kept grounds and dangerous playground equipment can lead to serious injuries for children. This type of accident can cause cuts, scratches, and broken bones. While intended for use among children, many of these items can cause harm when misused. This is frequently the case when staff leaves campers unattended or staff received improper training on the correct use of equipment.
Over the past few years, there have been several high-profile cases surrounding child abuse at local camps. For each of these highly visible cases, dozens of instances are either never reported or settled privately out of the courtroom (and out of the spotlight). Abuse may include physical, sexual, or verbal harm that can have long-term effects on the victims. When summer camps fail to conduct background checks on their employees, it is all too easy for a staff member to commit abusive acts.
Before sending your child to camp, the camp requires you to provide a detailed list of allergies. While most camps take great efforts to consider the allergies of all campers when preparing food, there is often cross-contamination or administrative missteps that can cause a child to be given the wrong dish or, even the wrong medication. This can ultimately lead to an anaphylactic reaction, which can be deadly for the victims.
It may not even occur to you that an explosion can happen at summer camp. However, four students were hospitalized with explosion injuries after a Bungalow exploded at an upstate New York summer camp. Many of America’s summer camps are extremely old. When a camp owner hasn’t put in the proper repair or maintenance, extreme situations like explosions can leave your child seriously injured.
Illnesses are the most common condition that affects children in summer camps. Gastroenteritis, contagious diseases, and even sunburns are illnesses that can severely injure a child. Children can end up with permanent scarring or damage to internal organs if an illness is left untreated. You may hold the staff and camp responsible if the camp staff does not treat or take the condition seriously. Further, a camp can be held liable if the camp is unsanitary or food is mishandled.
Who is Responsible for Keeping Kids Safe at Summer Camp?
Generally, the camp assumes responsibility when it comes to keeping your children reasonably safe. Because summer camps operate under the legal theory of premises liability, they owe a duty to ensure that activities are safe and minimize injury risks. Further, the camp has a responsibility to perform background on staff. Camp organizers should ensure that all staff who will come into contact with children have clean backgrounds. For example, organizers should look out for red flags like criminal convictions for sexual assault, child abuse, and other dangerous past behaviors. A camp may be liable if it fails to perform such a check or hires someone knowing their background. Further examples of camp negligence include:
- Failing to properly train staff
- Exposing guests or campers to dangerous conditions in tents and cabins
- Improperly supervising activities like swimming, climbing, hunting, canoeing, or other outdoor activities
- Failing to properly service equipment
- Failing to secure dangerous conditions such as pits and bodies of water with proper fencing or other safeguards
Keep in mind, the camp is not responsible for all injuries. For instance, there is an assumed risk when signing your child up for a risky activity like football camp. Children suffer injuries at summer camp; that’s a part of life. However, whether or not the camp is responsible depends on your specific situation. If you believe the camp is at fault for your child’s injury, contact The Carlson Law Firm today. A free case evaluation with a Child Injury Lawyer from our firm is your first step to ensuring your family receives the recovery you deserve.
The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
Camps, and all childcare facilities, including daycares, sports programs, and schools, have the legal responsibility to take actions to prevent these injuries. Unfortunately, many are careless in their hiring, training, and oversight of employees. This level of negligence can lead to disastrous results for campers and their families.
Our experienced legal team at The Carlson Law Firm has spent over 40 years handling countless injury claims. We will take the time to understand your case. Moreover, we will work with you to get your child the compensation they need to heal and move forward. We care, and we can help.