Summertime is every child’s favorite time of the year. School lets out and the days are filled with free time, which can be spent enjoying a variety of outdoor activities. All this free time can be anxiety-inducing for some parents, as it’s important to find a safe and enriching environment for your child. Summer camps and day camps can help fill this void, but not all New York camp programs are run as safely as they should be. Each year, countless New York children end up getting injured camp accidents which could have easily been prevented.
If your child has recently been injured at a summer camp, day camp, or during a family camping trip, you may be looking for answers. It’s easy to feel frustrated and wonder how the injury could have been prevented. If your child’s injury was caused by negligence, you could have grounds for a personal injury claim.
What Are The Most Common Camp Accidents?
Physical activities are a crucial part of any summer camp and provided much-needed exercise for our children. Proper safety instruction and supervision are crucial in order to reduce the risk of child injuries. These camps have an obligation to do all that they can to keep your child safe, but not every camp fulfills this obligation.
Some common examples of summer camp injuries include:
Every kid looks forward to gathering around the campfire to tell scary stories and roast s’mores. But sometimes, failure to meet safety standards results in burns and other fire-related injuries. Camp counselors should be aware of and strictly follow fire safety protocol in order to prevent children from suffering burn injuries and smoke inhalation.
When building a fire, it’s important to be aware of any potential hazards nearby which could cause the fire to spread. Children should also be supervised at all times to make sure no one gets too close to the fire and hurts themselves. If a failure to follow safety procedures results in a child burn injury, the parents could have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Drowning & Water-Related Injuries
Many summer camps, day camps, and family campgrounds have swimming pools and natural bodies of water like lakes and rivers. Swimming and water sports are a lot of fun for kids, but they can also be dangerous. Camps have an obligation to keep kids safe when they’re in the water. No child should ever be left unsupervised while they’re in the water and supervising staff members should be trained in how to intervene when something goes wrong.
Heatstroke & Sunburn
The New York summer heat can become overbearing if you’re not prepared for it. Camps should provide their guests with the proper safety measures for dealing with the sun and heat, including sunscreen and easy access to water. Severe sunburns can cause debilitating and lingering injuries, and can potentially lead to skin cancer and other diseases. Heatstroke and dehydration can be fatal, especially for vulnerable young children.
Slip, Trip, & Fall Injuries
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries for all children ages 0-19“, accounting for roughly 2.8 million child injuries each year. The risk of falling is especially high during physical activities. Camp staff members need to be aware of this risk and provide proper supervision for children at all times. Additionally, campsites should be regularly inspected and maintained to remove potential slip, trip, and fall hazards.
Camp hazards which often result in slip, trip, and fall injuries include:
- Wet and slippery walking surfaces (i.e. around swimming pools, in shower and restroom areas, etc.)
- Tripping hazards such as uncleared hiking trails and walking paths
- Defective or poorly maintained playground equipment
Most slip and fall accidents could have been prevented if camp management and staff members had properly identified and addressed the hazards which caused the injury.
Summer camps have a duty to thoroughly vet new applicants and make sure they have no history of child abuse or sexual crimes. In any field which requires frequent contact with children, there is the risk that sexual predators will try to infiltrate the organization and build trust so that they can act on their deviant impulses. Older children and camp trespassers also could abuse young children if the camp fails to provide adequate supervision.
There is no good excuse for allowing a child to be verbally, physically, or sexually abused at camp. If you have reason to believe that your child has become a victim, you should call the police immediately and consider meeting with a sexual assault lawyer to discuss your legal options.
Are Camps Liable For Child Injuries?
Establishing liability for camp injuries is all about proving negligence. A camp may be considered negligent if the following three conditions are met:
- The camp owed your child a duty of care (aka had a responsibility to keep them safe)
- The camp failed to fulfill this duty of care (aka failed to address a hazardous condition)
- Your child’s injury was a direct result of this failure
Liability varies depending on the circumstances behind your child’s injuries. In order to determine if you have a viable case for a lawsuit, it’s necessary to have your child’s accident reviewed by an experienced personal injury legal team. At Lipsig, our lawyers will gladly discuss the details of your case in a free consultation. If we decide to move forward, you’ll pay us nothing until we secure compensation for your family.