Summer Camp Safety: Who’s to Blame for Summer Camp Injuries and Illness?

July 30, 2012


Every summer, children across the United States attend day camps and summer camps. Camps provide children with fun summer activities so that they stay productive and out of any trouble. However, summer camps can be dangerous, so it is important to fully research camps before you settle on one so that you can be sure they value the safety of your child just as much as you do. Parents should be aware of the most common injuries children can suffer while at summer camp and talk to camp staff to ensure the safety of their child.

Common injuries and complications faced by child campers include the following:

  • Sprains and Strains. Nearly one-third of camp injuries are a result of slips, trips and falls. These injuries can arise from children not wearing proper footwear for outdoor activities, so make sure you review the camp’s footwear policy to ensure that closed toed shoes are required for outdoor adventures.
  • Illness. Campers and counselors are twice as likely to get sick than they are to suffer an injury. Due to the close quarters and contact between campers and staff, colds, flu and other infectious diseases can spread quite rapidly through camp environments. It is vital for parents to keep sick children at home before sending them off to camp and for camp staff members that fall ill to limit their contact with other counselors and campers.
  • Lack or Misuse of Protective Gear. While certain camp activities require specialized safety equipment, not all camps insist on campers using the equipment. In fact, half of all injuries sustained during activities that require protective gear are caused because campers or staff members were not using safety equipment appropriately. A lack of protective gear can lead to severe brain, head, back, spine and neck injuries.

Children can fall victim to a variety of injuries at summer camps. Should your child suffer an injury at camp, you will want to know who is responsible for any injuries.
In general, camps are usually held accountable for keeping children reasonably safe. Under the theory of premises liability, counselors and staff have a duty to manage and oversee all camp activities and facilities in order to minimize the risks for injuries. When camps do not live up to their legal responsibilities, parents may be able to seek compensation for their child’s injuries.

Likewise, camps are typically required to perform background checks on all staff members who will be in contact with children. Camp staff should be performing these checks to make sure potential counselors, cooks, activity leaders, volunteers and all other camp leaders are fit to be around children. Failing to perform these checks could result in incidents of child abuse and sexual abuse. If a child is injured or abused at the hands of a camp staff member and no background check of the individual was conducted, the camp could be held responsible for any occurrences that took place.

It is important to understand that camps are not responsible for all injuries a child sustains. Should you sign your child up for an athletic camp, you may have to sign a waiver releasing the camp for most injuries that occur during the duration of sports camps. Although, even without a waiver, the camp could argue that you assumed the risk of injury by signing up for the camp.

Unfortunately, no matter what you do, children will suffer injuries while at day camp or summer camp. Whether the camp can be held liable for such injuries will depend on the facts associated with the injury. The Hernando County Injury Lawyers at Whittel & Melton can answer any question you may have regarding your child’s injuries. We are proud to help accident victims in Spring Hill, Brooksville, Ridge Manor, Weeki Wachee, Hernando Beach, Masaryktown.

If your child has suffered an illness or injury due to the negligence of summer camp staff, contact the Hernando County Injury Attorneys at Whittel & Melton online or call 352-666-2121.

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