New York Attorney on Summer Camp Safety: Sending Your Kids Off

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Are you one of the thousands of parents who sends their kids off to summer camp each year? If so, you know that doing so gives them a chance to learn new skills, interact with the outdoors, and provide them the experience of being away from home. Sending them to camp also gives you—as a parent—some much-needed down time. While many summer camps are sponsored by organizations like Boys and Girls Clubs of America and Young Men’s Christian Associations (YMCAs), other summer camps are independently operated. How do you know which is best, and what can you do to ensure your child’s safety when you do send them off for a few days, a few weeks, or even a month?

Many children love the experience of summer camps—and many end up calling their parents to pick them up before camp has even started. A trip to summer camp can make or break a child’s quest for independence depending on what is on the agenda and how activities are handled. While we don’t want to think about them, Injuries at summer camp range from the common cuts and scrapes, to food poisoning, to severe injuries from horse backing riding and kayaking, to teaching them to swim in a 20-foot deep lake when the child doesn’t even know how to swim… and more.

In 2013, a summer camp counselor died when a tree fell on her, crushing her to death. Another boy was crushed to death by wheels of a tractor trailer when he was helping collect trash around the camp. In other incidents, children have reported sexual abuse, injuries from fights, exposure to infectious diseases, physical abuse, and suffered extreme heatstroke and dehydration. While it may be at times difficult to prove that there was negligence involved, particularly when it comes to an accident such as a falling tree, there are some things you can do as a parent to keep your kids safe in case an accident does occur:

  • Do your research as to finding out how long the camp has been in operation.
  • What types of screening processes do they do for the camp counselors?
  • If you sign a waiver that releases the camp from liability, you may want to read the fine print or consult with your New York attorney before signing on the dotted line.
  • What types of activities are on the agenda?
  • Have you listed any conditions or special needs that your child may have? For instance, if your child does not know how to swim, you should add that to the registration form so that skill and level of sport are not assumed.

Summer camps have been around for decades, and most children find the escape from home life a welcome respite to kick off the summer vacation. Doing your homework and investigating the camp thoroughly before you enroll your child could make all the difference between a fun summer camp trip, and one that ends in injury or tragedy.

If your child or the child of someone you know has been injured as a result of negligence or a wrongful accident at a summer camp, seeking the advice of a New York attorney who can handle your personal injury case with expertise and ease is the place to begin.