The Risk of Injury at Summer Camps

More injuries and accidents involving children occur in the summer months than any other time of the year. Many of those injuries occur while children are attending summer camp. Summer camp is a wonderful way for children to grow, learn, and mature while having fun and making friends. However, because of the nature of some of the events at summer camp, your children could be at an increased risk of injury at summer camp.

Common Summer Camp Accident Injuries

Water Hazards and Drowning

Many camps have water activities each day from swimming in a pool or lake to river rafting. Before sending your child to a summer camp, verify that staff members are trained in CPR and water rescue techniques. There should also be a lifeguard and an adequate ratio of children to staff members during water activities.

Burns from Fire Hazards

Sitting around a campfire is one of the mainstays at summer camp. If children are not properly supervised, they can be severely burned. Many burns can be avoided with proper instruction and supervision. Verify that staff members are trained in first aid, especially the treatment of burn injuries. Sunburns can also be severe. Send sunscreen with your child and question staff members to ensure they verify that children apply sunscreen when participating in outdoor activities.


Sports are another mainstay at summer camps. Many of these sports are contact sports that can result in concussions, broken bones, and other injuries.  Before leaving your child at camp, discuss the procedure for handling a sports injury with a senior staff member or the owner. Ask if staff members are trained in the recognition of concussion symptoms and traumatic brain injury (TBI).

Injuries on Buses

Camps use buses to transport children; however, many of these buses do not have seatbelts. Without a seatbelt, a child can be thrown from the bus or tossed around in the bus causing broken bones, head injuries, and internal injuries. Discuss the safety measures in place to prevent campers from being injured (i.e. trained bus drivers who are screened for prior accidents and traffic violations).

Fights and Assault

Unfortunately, there are going to be confrontations between campers who are in close quarters for one or more weeks. The key is to ensure staff members are trained in handling disputes to prevent disputes from escalating into physical assaults. Ask about the procedure for a camper to report threats or violence and make sure your child understands to speak up if he or she is being bullied or hurt by another camper.

Summer Camp Tips for Parents

The Canada Safety Council provides summer camp tips for parents to help parents prepare their children, and themselves, for summer camp. Some of the tips included in the list are:

  • Notify staff members of any food allergies or other allergies
  • Make sure that staff members are aware of any health conditions and medications your child may need each day
  • Ask about the ratio of campers to adults
  • Inquire about the activities that campers will do during camp

For the complete list, visit Canada Safety Council’s website. For more summer camp tips you can read “Summer camp tips: A checklist for parents” by CBC News and visit the Parents Canada website.

Was Your Child Injured at Summer Camp?

Your child might have a valid claim against the camp for damages if he or she was injured at camp. Contact the team of lawyers at Diamond and Diamond to schedule a free consultation with an Ontario personal injury lawyer. Call our 24/7 injury hotline at 1-800-567-HURT or visit our website to speak to someone now.

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