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Summer Camp Injuries

Summer Camp Injuries

When parents send their children to either day or sleep-away camp, the camp is required to exercise the same degree of care over the child as would the parent. This means that the camp must take care of the child entrusted to it in the same manner as the parent would. This legal concept is called in loco parentis, i.e., the camp stands in the shoes of the parent.

The rule that the camp stands in the shoes of the parent does not impose absolute liability on the camp. The camp is not insurer of the child’s safety. The camp does not have to lock-up the children in their bunks. Children can still play and enjoy themselves. Even when the camp’s counselors exercise reasonable care, a child can get hurt. The test is whether the camp acted prudently and took reasonable steps to prevent the injury.

When selecting a camp, get references. Often the best reference is a recommendation from a family member or friend.

If your child is injured at camp, early investigation is necessary as most camps close by Labor Day. After attending to your child’s immediate medical needs, call an attorney if you feel that the camp was negligent.

Case example: Jamie, a 15 year old girl, was in summer girls’ camp. As a reward for good behavior, the client and a few other girls were taken for a ride on a golf cart around the camp’s running track. The cart was overloaded, and the camp counselor was driving too fast. Our client, who was seated facing the back, fell out and sustained a fractured skull requiring an air-ambulance to a major hospital as well as hospitalization and continuing care. This case is pending in the courts.

Case example: Jim, a 10 year old boy, was at a day camp. His group was taken to a swimming pool. George could not swim, and the camp counselor knew this. The counselor left the children alone at the pool. A bully, who had bullied George on earlier occasions, threw George into the water. George almost drowned, but the counselor reappeared and was able to save George. George had to be hospitalized. We claimed that that camp counselor was negligent in leaving the children unattended at the pool especially when George could not swim. This case was settled.

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