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Summer camp injuries: What parents must know

Summer camp is a good way to keep children from feeling that slump in the middle of their summer vacation. It also gives working parents a break from finding all-day childcare services or taking off of work.

However, children also face a significant risk of suffering a serious injury while away at camp. And these injuries can create complex situations for Lehigh Valley families to handle.

Exploring at camp can result in many injuries

Spending time away at camp can almost guarantee that a child will return home with some bruises or scrapes. That comes with the territory of exploring the outdoors. But there is a risk of much more severe injuries that are common in summer camps, including:

  • Slips and falls on slippery docks or improperly maintained grounds
  • Head injuries, from concussions to traumatic brain injuries
  • Swimming injuries or accidental drownings
  • Dangerous infections from the environment
  • Animal attacks and bites

These injuries can leave children facing long recovery times or life-changing conditions, but it is sometimes difficult to take legal action to recover compensation for the child’s injuries.

The main issue? Liability waivers.

Most summer camps require parents to sign a waiver before their child leaves for camp. These waivers commonly include language that permits kids to engage in camp activities, but also releases the camp from liability for injuries children sustain during those activities.

Many people worry that signing these waivers will prevent them from taking any legal action if their child suffers a serious injury. However, in many cases, courts find these waivers inadmissible or unenforceable.

A waiver might not stop you from obtaining compensation

Pennsylvania parents should take a close look at these waivers before signing them. A waiver must be specific and created legally. And a waiver might be unenforceable if it:

  • Excuses the camp from all liability for recklessness
  • Includes language that is too broad to cover all kinds of injuries
  • Claims they are not liable, even if they did not use proper safety equipment or conduct proper maintenance

Even with a waiver, summer camp staff are still responsible for the safety of hundreds of children. So, parents should share tips with their children about how to stay safe at camp. However, it is important that parents know they might be able to take legal action if their child is injured at camp.