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Summer Camp Food Poisoning: What to Do if Your Child Becomes a Victim

Posted By Regan Zambri Long, PLLC || 14-Jul-2017

For a couple of weeks each year, summer camps across the nation provide opportunities for kids to have fun, gain new experiences and form new relationships (not to mention a bit of rest for the parents!). However, occasionally good experiences turn bad, especially if a bout of food poisoning sweeps through the camp. The USDA says foodborne illnesses naturally peak in the summertime due to warmer temperatures, which means campground facilities must exercise special care in food handling to make sure food is properly cleaned and kept at safe temperatures. Sometimes, however rarely, camps fail to practice safe food handling—and a campground full of sick children can result, occasionally with serious medical complications.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Food Poisoning

Food poisoning usually results from the presence of harmful bacteria like Salmonella, E.coli, Listeria, Staphylococcus or others. The bacteria rest in or on food that has either been improperly washed, insufficiently cooked or left at room temperature for too long. Common symptoms of possible food poisoning may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Cramps/abdominal pain
  • Fever

If symptoms persist for more than a couple of days, if fevers get high or if blood is present in the stool, the child may need medical attention.

Is the Camp Liable for Food Poisoning?

Most camps require parents to sign a general liability waiver saying they are aware of and assume a certain level of risk by sending their children to camp. Sometimes the fault lies further up the chain—for example, if the food arriving at the camp was already contaminated. However, if the camp exercised negligence with basic practices to keep the kids safe, the camp may still be liable to cover medical costs associated with food poisoning. The best way to determine whether you have a legitimate negligence case is to consult with a personal injury attorney.

For more information on how to keep children safe at summer camp, check out our recent post “Six Excellent Resources to Learn About Camp Safety.”

If you believe your child has suffered food poisoning due to negligence, our Washington D.C. personal injury attorneys can help. Call our office for more information.

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