What types of risks sometimes exist at summer camp?
Summer camp injuries in most cases are not typically serious and the majority of children across the United States enjoy summer camp. However, when children are exposed to preventable risks and serious injury occurs, there may be grounds for legal action to recover damages.
A study published by the U.S. National Institute of Health in 2006 reported that the most common injuries children experienced at camp were cuts, scratches and scrapes (33 percent) and that 14.6 percent were fractures and 10.4 percent were sprains. Researchers identified horseback riding and capture the flag as injury producing activities.
What are some precautions to prevent injuries?
The American Camp Association suggests various precautions that camps should take to prevent injuries:
- Proper footwear. Trip, slip or falls often result in sprains or strains. Rough terrain and improper footwear are the main causes of these types of injuries. Children who wear flip-flops are more at risk for falls. Certain terrains that are step, uneven or slippery are especially dangerous. Whenever possible, it is wise to avoid rough terrain, and it is also wise to require campers to wear closed toe shoes.
- Protective equipment. Particular types of activities require the use of protective equipment, such as helmets for horseback riding and bike riding. The ACA reported that according to a Healthy Camp Study, in 50 percent of injury events where protective equipment was applicable, campers and staff were not wearing protective equipment. Ensure campers wear protective equipment when it is advised for particular activities.
- Knife safety training. Wounds from sharp objects, such as knives, accounted for 15 percent of the injuries campers and residents experienced in resident camps and 17 percent in day camps. Knife safety training should be incorporated into camp programs for staff and campers.
- Reducing fatigue. Fatigue can contribute to injuries because when campers are worn out, they are more likely to get injured. A camp schedule that balances busy and sedentary activities and gives campers time to rest can help prevent injuries.
Boating and swimming are also popular camping activities. Adhering to water safety rules is also vital to keep children safe. Campers should always wear life jackets when boating, and camps should have trained lifeguards to supervise swimmers.
As a parent, when you are choosing camps for your children, you should ensure that the camp is accredited and also inquire about precautionary measures the camp has in place to prevent injuries.
When should you seek legal help for a camp injury?
If your child suffers from a serious injury, it is wise to seek legal counsel. An experienced attorney can determine whether negligence was involved. Holding negligent parties accountable can help prevent other children from suffering similar serious injuries.
The Law Offices of David R. Lewis offers a free consultation to discuss your camping injury and determine whether grounds exist for taking legal action.