Summer camps house a large number of children, not to mention the fact that they often revolve around physical activity and outdoor adventure. As a result, summer camp injuries happen quite often. Most of these injuries are relatively minor cuts, sprains and bruises, but occasionally children will wind up with more serious ones such as broken bones, concussions or even brain injuries. When this happens, most parents are left wondering who is responsible for the injuries.
Duty of Care
Operators of summer camps have a duty of care to provide a safe environment and proper supervisor for children. When camp managers fail to do these things, they can be considered negligent in a court of law. Some of the things a summer camp is expected to do are:
- Ensure there is an adequate ratio of staff to campers
- Inspect the facilities for hazards on a regular basis
- Maintain equipment in proper working order
- Provide proper training for staff members who oversee certain activities such as horseback riding or rock climbing
- Give safety briefings to campers when appropriate
- Ensure that children are divided into the appropriate group based on age or skill level when performing strenuous activities
Physical or Sexual Abuse
In addition to summer camp accidents, children sometimes unfortunately become the victim of physical or sexual abuse during their stay. This could result not only in civil penalties, but criminal ones against the perpetrator as well. Camp directors could be held liable for negligent hiring practices if they failed to perform the proper screenings ahead of time or refused to take action when similar incidents occurred in the past.
Preventing Summer Camp Injuries
The best thing that you as a parent can do is to find out as much as you can about a summer camp before enrolling your child in it. Talk with other parents whose children have attended this camp in order to find out what it is like. Visit the camp in person, and take a tour of the facilities to ensure they are well maintained. Find out about hiring practices, and meet your child’s counselor in person if possible.
By taking these precautions, you can help reduce the odds that your child will be injured while at summer camp. If he or she suffers an accident anyway, you should first ensure the proper medical attention is rendered before speaking with a personal injury attorney who can advise you of your rights.