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
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:
- Cramps/abdominal pain
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.