Summer Camp Can Be Fun AND Safer When Taking a Few Precautions
Kids are now counting the days until the end of the school year while making plans for the summer. One option that many kids and their parents select for a source of fun, learning and recreation is summer camp. There are a virtually unlimited number of summer camps available, such as church camps, sports camps, 4-H camps and many more. While most parents and kids carefully research camp activities, costs and even the qualifications of those running the camp, they may not think to examine the camp's safety record. Many kids that board the bus to summer camp each summer return home with serious injuries that may result in physical and mental disability. We have provided an overview of the types of accidents that may occur when those who sponsor and operate activities at these kids' retreats do not take adequate care to prevent injury or harm to residents.
The transportation to these summer camps usually is by way of bus or even large passenger vans. Most buses do not provide seat belts. Additionally, if a bus driver is not properly screened, trained or supervised those on the bus are at higher risk of severe injuries in a collision. Most buses lack seat belts so it is especially important for camps to utilize buses that have undergone necessary maintenance and safety checks, and to employ drivers that have received proper training and that obey traffic laws. Parents may want to consider asking about the busing service used, including screening of driving records, drug testing and driver training. The camp operators should also be asked about bus maintenance and inspection practices.
Drowning and Watersports Accidents
When a large number of kids are in close proximity to water while swimming and playing, it is imperative that properly trained lifeguards be available who are not distracted. Some camps even permit teenagers to use personal water crafts (PWCs) and boats where the risk to those in the water and riders is even greater. The key to reducing the risk of drowning and near drowning crashes includes asking about lifeguard to swimmer ratios, CPR training and requirements for employment as a lifeguard. Because many lifeguards are teenagers, you may also want to inquire about whether lifeguards are allowed to use cell phones to text or talk when on-duty. If kids are allowed to operate watercrafts, you should consider inquiring about whether there is always an adult in a position to take control of the boat, Jet Ski or Sea-Doo.
Fire and Burn Injuries
Nightly campfires are a rite of passage at many youth camps, but close supervision around fires is necessary so that rough-housing does not result in someone being pushed into harm's way. Fires also need to be supervised until extinguished to ensure that embers do not escape the fire pit and cause foliage or structures to ignite.
Sexual Molestation and Abuse
While it is tempting to imagine that all sexual predators look the part, many sex offenders look and act in ways that are indistinguishable from the average parent. Many of those that commit acts of sexual abuse of kids even have children of their own. Parents may wish to inquire about whether all adult counselors at the camp are required to submit to criminal background screening.
The bottom line is that summer camps are fun and exciting places for kids to enjoy their time off from school, but just like with other activities, there are potential hazards that cannot be ignored. If you review any camp brochures or handbooks as well as the camp's website, these information sources may provide some initial information to address potential safety issues and practices. However, you should not be afraid to speak to a member of the management of the camp to inquire further if you still have concerns. We want the kids of all of our Georgia family, friends, neighbors and members of the community to have a fun and safe summer!
If you or someone you love has been injured, call the Georgia personal injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your free consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). We are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.