Friday, July 31, 2015

What If Your Child Is Injured at Camp?

According to the American Camp Association (ACA)1 summer camps bring in an estimated 15 billion dollars every year. While both day camps and sleep-away camps can be highly rewarding experiences for children, sending your child to camp puts your child at risk of several types of serious injuries. Camps should always maintain the highest safety standards possible for children and, when they fail to do so, you may be able to recover financially for certain injuries suffered by your child. The following are some of the most common injuries sustained by children at summer camp:

Burns – One of the most symbolic parts of the camp experience is the campfire. Campers not only gather around a large fire to roast marshmallows and sing songs, but may also use grills and other types of flame for cooking, camping, and other activities. Unfortunately, where there is fire, there is the chance to get burned. Burns from open flames can be serious and require immediate medical attention. Serious burns may lead to infections or may require procedures such a skin grafts to repair the damage skin and tissue. Some burns may lead to permanent scarring and disfigurement. Camps have the responsibility to teach proper fire safety and closely supervise children around flames, as well as provide adequate medical attention if a child is burned.

Collisions and falls – Camp involves many different types of activities, including ropes courses, obstacle courses, trust exercises, playground equipment, and more. It is possible in all of these activities for kids to fall down or collide with an object or another camper. While some falls and collisions simply happen and cannot be prevented, other such accidents occur due to inadequate supervision during activities or due to counselors who are not properly trained on certain pieces of equipment or who push kids beyond their skill or age limits.

Cuts – The ACA reports2 that cuts by knives or other sharp objects account for 15 to 17 percent of camp injuries. Many activities may involve sharp objects and it is absolutely imperative that counselors teach proper knife handling, use, and storage in order to limit the amount of cuts that occur. If a camp fails to supervise kids using knives or does not teach proper safety skills, it may be held liable for the injuries to the camper.

Brain injuries – With their still developing brains, young children are particularly susceptible to traumatic brain injuries. Even a slight bump on the head can result in a concussion and more severe brain injuries can cause long-lasting symptoms and challenges. Whenever a child is involved in contact sports, bicycling, or other activities that may lead to a blow to the head, children need to be provided with adequate safety equipment and supervision. Additionally, if they do hit their heads, children need immediate medical attention and should not be allowed to resume activities until cleared by a medical professional.

Sunburn and heat stroke – Camps naturally involve spending a significant amount of time outside in the sun. Camps should always ensure that campers apply adequate sunscreen or wear clothing with full coverage if they are susceptible to burning. Serious sunburns can have complications including allergic reactions and later skin conditions. Additionally, counselors should always be aware if a child is becoming over-exhausted or dehydrated in the heat and should not allow them to get to the point of heat stroke.

Assaults – Camps have the duty to hire individuals who are qualified and safe to be around children. This means that all counselors should be subject to a background check to ensure they have no history of inappropriate behavior around children. If a camp negligently hires a dangerous individuals and that individual assaults a camper, the camp should be held responsible for all of your child's resulting physical and emotional injuries.

Contact an experienced premises liability attorney for a free consultation today
If your child suffered injury at camp and you believe the camp was negligent, you should not hesitate to discuss a possible case with our skilled Clearwater premises liability lawyers at Dolman Law Group. Call today at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756