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Common Summer Camp Injuries and How to Proceed

With school out, children are anxious to enjoy their time away from school, and parents are equally eager to keep their children active. Summer camp is an excellent way to satisfy parents and children alike. Most summer camp experiences are fantastic, but some children walk away with injuries. Sometimes these injuries could have been avoided.

If a summer camp tragedy is a reality your family knows firsthand, the type of injury your child received could help you determine how to move forward with any legal action. 

Allergic Reaction

Allergic reactions surface in many ways. For some children, a bout of sneezing or coughing is the way their body reacts to exposure to an allergen. For other children, the reaction is a severe anaphylactic episode. Camp organizers should require each family to complete a health history form that details known allergens and as the potential reaction.

The camp officials must safeguard the child from possible exposure. When officials do not, their actions could be perceived as negligent, which could mean they are financially liable. On the other hand, parents have a responsibility to provide accurate information.

A parent's failure to notify the organization of an allergen may absolve them from guilt if the child is exposed to the allergen. Parents are also responsible for providing the camp staff with any medication to treat the child's allergies.

Broken Bone

Camps are often outside, and full of physical activity. When a parent sends a child to camp, they may do so with the thought of a minor scrape or cut in their mind. A broken bone is an unexpected scenario. With broken or fractured bones, the reason for the injury will point you in the direction of the likely responsible party.

For instance, if a child was participating in a climbing event and the child fell and broke their arm because the harness equipment failed, the sponsoring organization's failure to maintain their equipment is negligence.

Some camp organizations require parents to sign liability release forms, which in theory removes responsibility from the organization when the child is engaging in a knowingly dangerous activity. Just because there is a release in place, however, it does not mean you can't take legal action against the organization in some situations.

Illness

Residential summer camps typically put a high number of children together in tightly confined spaces. Such a close environment increases physical contact among the children and makes it easier for certain diseases to spread. Norovirus, croup, and whooping cough are some of the common illnesses campers are exposed to.

In some instances, illnesses are unavoidable. However, sometimes the actions, or lack of actions, on the part of the camp staff increase the risk. For example, poor cleaning practices in public spaces like the bathroom increase the risk of illnesses like norovirus spreading.

Additionally, when one camper has been diagnosed with a transferable illness, the camp must take immediate steps to disinfect the facility and potentially remove the child from the camp. A failure to clean or take immediate steps could mean that the camp is responsible for any illness your child experiences. 

Before sending your child to camp, do your research on the organization. If you're not confident about the information you find, take it as a sign that you should continue to search for options.

At Scholtens & Averitt, we know how vital the wellbeing of your child is to you, and we also understand the high cost of medical treatment and the pain and suffering that comes along with injuries. We want to put our compassion and knowledge of the law to work for you. Contact us so we can help you move forward with your claim. 

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