Many of our clients choose day camps for their children to attend for all or part of the summer. Parents generally assume that the camps are well-operated and that safety is a primary concern. Unfortunately, camps frequently employ paraprofessionals and teenagers to take care of your children. These individuals may not have had adequate training, or any training at all, in the care of children.
Of particular concern are activities in which children are in danger of injury and the capabilities of the counselors and others, such as lifeguards, to ensure that children will be safe. The abilities of summer camp staff are especially important when camps offer an array of activities or services that pose hazards to children, especially when there is inadequate supervision or instruction:
- Swimming and other water sports / activities
- Horseback riding
- Sports, including cycling, football, and skateboarding
- Crafts that require tools or sharp objects
- Playground equipment
We suggest you obtain a set of the training materials provided to counselors and that you read those materials carefully. In the event you feel there are concerns that have not been addressed during the training programs, you should feel free to ask questions. Additionally, you should determine the organizations and associations that the camp belongs to. You should check with this association as well as with your local county and state agencies that license, govern, and monitor camps to determine if the camp you are selecting for your child has been the subject of any complaint and whether any children have been injured due to a finding by a state or local agency of the negligence of that camp or its employees.
To aid you in determining the safety of a camp, here are a few questions you can ask:
- What is the counselor to camper ratio?
- What are the ages, backgrounds, training, and certifications (CPR and concussion recognition) of counselors?
- Is safety equipment provided to campers?
- What is the protocol for emergencies, injuries, or medications?
Summer camp can be a great way for children to socialize and expand their experiences in life, but parents always want to ensure that their children enjoy these experiences as safely as possible. They also have the right to expect that summer camps and staff will take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their kids. In the event that they do not, and fail in their duty to provide safe premises, safety equipment, proper supervision, or other duties that ensure safety, summer camps may be held liable for injuries campers suffer as a result. To hold a summer camp liable, victims and their families will need to pursue a personal injury case based on premises liability.
If you have questions about summer camp injuries and your rights, Chaikin, Sherman, Cammarata & Siegel, P.C. is available to help. The individual facts of a case will determine whether you have a potential case, which is why a personalized evaluation is important. Our legal team serves clients throughout Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. and offers free consultation. Contact us today to discuss a potential case.