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Top Five Summer Camp Legal Claims

lesson learned Apr 07, 2019

By Beth A. Block


Summertime is just around the corner. Many of you are planning your programs, lining up your staff and promoting your camps. As you’re thinking about how you can turn summer into a profit, take a moment to consider the top five summer camp insurance claims we’ve seen.

The worst involved a swimming pool. Many studio owners take their campers to the pool. Usually, these public pool sites have many other groups of people at the pool simultaneously. This was the case for one of your fellow owners.

On a steaming hot day, they arrived at the pool. The studio’s team and the pool lifeguards missed seeing a student-camper struggling at the bottom of the pool. The good news is that the camper was seen and brought up before he could drown. The bad news is that that wasn’t enough to stop the family from suing.

The second claim that makes this list involves a van. After a field trip to the park, the van was being unloaded at the studio. The studio was a bit short-staffed that day. It’s hard to keep your staffing at capacity level all day throughout the extended summer season.

Because the staffing was short, there was no one to walk through the vehicle. This resulted in a child being left in the van. She had fallen asleep. When she woke up, she opened the back door and walked down the plaza to another store.

The store owner asked her for her mom’s phone number. She was a smart girl and gave the number. Her mom showed up before the studio even knew she was gone. A lawsuit emerged two months later.

The third summer camp claim involved a case of amorous tweens. These two had been flirting with each other for several months. They went to school together and trained at the studio together.

In the dark of a movie theater, the couple explored each other physically. When one mom talked with her child that evening, she realized the two had escalated their infatuation and was outraged.

She wasn’t satisfied with the studio’s answers about supervision at the movies. She went to a lawyer. If you guessed a lawyer’s letter followed, you’re right.

The fourth summer camp claim involves the bathroom. This studio didn’t have supervisors of both genders throughout the day. Their opening shift only included males aged 17 to 25.

At 8:00 a.m., a six-year-old girl had an attack of diarrhea. She needed to be cleaned up and change her clothes. Unfortunately, she was such a mess that she could not clean herself up. The team member that cleaned her was the 17-year-old male.

He did not behave inappropriately. But he did end up in a room alone with a six-year-old girl with the door closed. Given the circumstances, there was no way to avoid touching her below the belt.

The father couldn’t handle the wild ideas that ran through his mind. He sued the studio and made accusations against the team member. It was a misery for everyone involved.

The fifth summer camp claim involved a child with diabetes. The studio owner didn’t work with the parents to write out an individual plan of care. This left the school wide open to liability regarding the camper’s physical condition.

One afternoon, the program brought in pizza for lunch. The camper’s parents had sent a sack lunch for the child. But the pizza was just too much to resist. The camper’s blood sugar spiked.

The studio team didn’t know what symptoms showed up in the event of a spike in blood sugar. They had no idea that the high thirst level and the frequent trips to the bathroom were physical symptoms of her condition.

When the camper was picked up for the day, the parent immediately noticed the child’s problematic sugar level. There was no lasting damage done from the one day’s spike in the sugar. But that didn’t stop the family from suing the studio.

Any of these problem situations, and many others, could happen in the case of your own summer camps. As always, I suggest you plan carefully to limit your liability.


Beth A. Block can be reached at (800) 225-0863 or [email protected]

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