Articles Tagged with summer camp

Stroller - Child Safety - Personal Injury
During the summer and other months in warm weather States, children are at risk for heat related illnesses including by not limited to hyperthermia.  It is important that summer camps, schools, day care centers, and other child care providers understand that children respond and handle the heat much differently than adults.  Furthermore, a child does not necessary verbalize or even recognize himself or herself when there is a risk of serious complications from the heat. This is especially true for infants, toddlers, and special needs children who are not communicative.   According to Dr.  Ross Tobleman, an emergency medical director based in Texas, “Little children can certainly get into trouble very quickly without having us recognize the signs that they’re getting trouble.”  This is a reference to heat and medical complications.   It should be noted that the metabolism and body of a child works much differently than that of an adult.  You can read more about this topic at Heat Related Illnesses Harder to Detect in Children.

In this article, it is interesting to note that strollers and other confined spaces can present a real risk of danger, medical complication, and even death to children in the heat of summer and other months.   Since children do not sweat or control body temperature the same as an adult, a glance at a child may lead a child care provider to believe that all is well because the child is not sweating profusely or appear to be that hot or overexposed to the heat.  The truth is that child care provides, on many occasions, do not and cannot see that a child is truly a risk and approaching a critical overexposure to the heat.   Some times, it is only the child’s outward signs of trauma, arrest, or other significant issues that finally alerts the child care provider that there is a problem.

In Florida, child care providers, summer camps, day care centers, schools and other entities have a duty to keep a child out of harm’s way.  One known risk is the Florida heat.  Make sure that a child – especially infants and toddlers – are provided with proper ventilation when in confined spaces like a stroller. Furthermore, as we have seen far too many times, a child should not be left unattended on a school bus or school van without air conditioning.   Let’s make sure that this point is clear.   A child needs to be supervised at all times and should never be left on a bus or van alone – air conditioned or without air conditioning.

soccer ball on the field

Summer Camp Injuries

Summer is typically a great time for a child. School is out and the focus is on fun, sports, and activities.   Unfortunately for some children, summer marks a point in time in which a child suffers a serious personal injury in the form of heat exposure, fractures, and other injuries.  If a child is injured a a summer camp, there are many issues and challenges to pursue a case or claim against the summer camp.  It should be noted that a summer camp is not liable or responsible for every since incident or injury.

With any form of physcial activity even arts and crafts, there is a risk of injury.   The question is whether the summer camp acted reasonable and timely.   It is important that the facility, equipment and supplies are regularly inspected; otherwise, more injuries take place at summer camps and, yes, a case can be pursued if it can be shown that the injuries resulted from negligence, carelessnesss, improper supervision, or dangerous conditions.

medical_1000006509-120613intIn Florida, a child under the age of 6 years old cannot be held liable for his or her own negligence or carelessness.  This is the law in the State of Florida.  Why is this particular law in place?  The policy reasons behind this law is based on the known fact that young children lack safety awareness and lack good judgment especially when near something interesting or fun in appearance like a body of water, pool, playground, etc . . . .
Let’s take an example.  Let’s say that a 5 year old child is enrolled in a day care center.   The child walks into an unlocked janitor / cleaning supply closet.  While in the closet, the child sees some brightly colored blue jug.  The child opens the jugs and pours the chemicals over his or her head.  The child then sustains significant and painful burns that require an extended hospitalization and result in lifelong and permanent scarring to the face.  This is certainly a tragic incident; however it is an incident that is foreseeable and preventable.   The door should have been locked and all dangerous chemicals should have been kept out of the reach of the child. Furthermore, with constant and consistent supervision, the child would have been re-directed or kept from the area of danger.   This 5 year old child was injured due to a lack of supervision. The child cannot be faulted for his actions because he was under the age of 6 years old at the time of the incident.
For children 6 and older, a portion of the fault can be attributed to the child; however, the age and maturity of the child are considered for children 6 and older.  If the same incident happened with a 6 year old, it would be my opinion that all of the fault for this particular incident would still fall upon the Florida Day Care Center which failed to properly supervise this child.

Play Time Written In Multicolored Plastic Kids Letters

Play Time at Day Care Centers, Schools, and Summer Camp

At most playgrounds, it is common to see a slide.  Children often enjoy playing on playgrounds and especially the joy and thrill of climbing up a slide and then sliding down.  If the slide is age appropriate and used correctly, most injuries from playground slides are avoided.   This also assumes that there is sufficient and reasonable supervision in place for all of the children on the playground including but not limited to the slide area – ladder, levels, slide, and landing.  Unfortunately, for some children, the playground slide is the location of a serious personal injury.   When a child is injured on a playground, the day care center, summer camp, property owner, school, or city / county entity may be liable for the resulting injuries and damages.   The liability or responsibility will depend on the ability to prove the four essential elements of a civil case or claim:

1. Duty;

Soccer ball on grass and line

Summer Camp Injuries

During the summer months, children attend camp. Some cancer overnight camps. Others are day camps. There are variety of camps in virtually every community needs in the United States. With almost any activity at camp, there is a risk of injury. Unfortunately, some children fracture arms, legs, and other body parts while participating in summer camp related activities.   Does this mean that the summer camp is liable or responsible for these injuries?  Well, like many legal issues and questions, it depends on the facts or circumstances.  Let’s say a child is at a summer camp playing goalie with other children of his size and age group.   While attempting to block a ball, the goalie fractures or breaks his arm.   The injury took place during a supervised game and was essentially an inherent risk of the game or activity.  Under these general facts and circumstances, it would not appear that the summer camp would have any liability for the injuries suffered by the child.  When the facts and circumstances are changed a bit, there could be a case or claim to pursue on behalf of the injured child.  Let’s say that the goalie is 6 years old.   The person taking the shot is a 17 year old counselor in training who happens to be a very good soccer player.   The counselor in training takes a very hard shot on this undersized and young goalie.  The sheer force of the shot breaks the child’s arm which results in a complicated surgery.   Under these general facts, the theory would be that the counselor in training was careless or negligent in taking such a hard shot on goal.   It should be noted that very few cases are clear cut one way or the other.  In other words, each case should be evaluated on its own particular facts and merits.   Furthermore, there is rarely a case in which there is no way to lose the case if it is pursued.   Most cases can be and are challenged by the summer camp and the insurance company.   A Florida Child Injury Lawyer experienced with these cases should have a good grip as to which cases to take and which cases to turn down.  Of course, a Child Injury Lawyer should never guarantee a result.

Like other personal injury cases, a case against a Summer Camp will require proof of the following four elements:

WhistleEvery summer in Florida and other States, children gladly say goodbye to school and hello to summer camp.   For most children, summer time is filled with adventure, sports, friendship, and learning.  For some, however, summer unfortunately marks the time in which a child suffers a serious personal injury. Some children even die while at summer camp.   Certainly, any time a child is engaged in outdoor activities – there are some inherent risks.  Some injuries happen despite the presence of adult supervision and the implementation of reasonable and necessary safety measures.  However, other injuries result from the negligence of the summer camp, the lack of supervision, and / or the lack of safet measures.  When a child suffers a personal injury at a summer camp, a parent is oftten faced with the stress of dealing with the aftermath of the injury.   This can be especially troublesome when the child is at an overnight camp and is hundreds of miles away from the injured child.  Is a Sumer Camp liable for every single injury that takes place?  The simple answer to this is “No”.
A Summer Camp is not an absolute insurer for the safety and well-being of the child.  For instance, let’s say a child is playing basketball at summer camp.  He goes up for a lay up and comes down hard on his ankle.  After a medical examination and x-ray, it is determined that the ankle is fractured.  Under this basic fact pattern, a Summer Camp would not be liable for the injuries because it does not appear that the Summer Camp or its staff did anything wrong.
Here is a different fact patterrn to consider.  A group of 7 year olds are playing softball at camp. The counselor is about 100 yards from the playing field and is on her mobile phone texting a friend.  One of the children is swinging a bat around near the bench and whacks another player in the head.   The player on the bench suffers a serious head injury and is rushed to the local hospital where she is diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury.   Is the Summer Camp liablel for this injury?  The simple answer to this question would be “Yes”.  With proper and attentive supervision, there would not be a child swinging a bat near the players on the bench.  This incident was wholly preventable and foreseeable for that matter.