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Tragedy at Liberty Lake Day Camp As Boy Drowns

boy drowns at liberty lakes daycamp

In New Jersey, a 6-year-old boy named Michael Jeffrey Stewart lost his life after being found unresponsive in the shallow end of the swimming pool.

The event occurred on the first day of the summer camp, during the afternoon swim session for campers entering first and second grade.

The camp’s founder, Andy Pritikin, promptly emailed parents about the tragedy, expressing deep sorrow and condolences. Lifeguards on duty responded, administering CPR and contacting emergency services. Michael could not be revived despite their best efforts.

We offer our deepest condolences to his family after this horrific accident.

Why Did This Happen?

Based on the information provided so far, it appears that despite the presence of multiple adults, including a counselor, teenage assistants, and a lifeguard, the drowning still occurred at Liberty Lake Day Camp. A few potential factors may have contributed to this.

Inadequate lifeguard staffing ratio: Some comments suggest the camp was understaffed with lifeguards, which could have made it difficult to monitor all swimmers effectively. How many children were present compared to the adults? This must be looked into to determine if the day camp involved negligence.

Overcrowding in the pool: Comments found on a Reddit thread indicate the camp historically had too many children enrolled, with insufficient staff to provide adequate supervision and engage all the campers in activities. Overcrowding can make it harder for lifeguards and counselors to spot a distressed swimmer.

Lack of Attention: Even with multiple adults present, drowning can occur quickly and silently if proper attention is not paid. One commenter in the Reddit thread noted witnessing a drowning at a crowded public pool where no one noticed the victim slip under the water despite the presence of many people and lifeguards.

While the exact circumstances are still unclear at this stage, the drowning highlights the importance of proper lifeguard staffing ratios, vigilant supervision, appropriate safety equipment, including properly fitted life vests, and avoiding overcrowding to keep children safe during water activities at summer camp.

The camp must thoroughly review and strengthen its safety protocols to prevent such a heartbreaking incident from happening again.

Enhancing Water Safety Measures

According to their website, Liberty Lake Day Camp is committed to child safety and follows all safety protocols during camp hours. With a team of registered nurses and certified lifeguards who are well-versed in life-saving techniques, this incident highlights the need for continuous improvement in water safety protocols. Some potential enhancements include:

Mandatory swim tests: Implement mandatory swim tests for all campers to assess their swimming abilities and assign appropriate swim areas based on skill level.

Enhanced training for staff: Providing regular, comprehensive training for all camp staff members in water safety, emergency response, and CPR to ensure quick and effective action in case of an incident.

Clear communication with parents: Before the start of camp, communicate water safety policies, procedures, and expectations to parents, emphasizing the importance of their child’s swimming abilities and any specific concerns.

Duties of Facilities with Aquatics

While camps and recreational swim facilities bear a significant responsibility for ensuring the safety of their patrons, water safety is a collective effort that requires the involvement of parents, guardians, and the community. By working together, we can create a safer environment for our children to enjoy the many benefits of swimming and water activities.

Aquatic facility managers and operators are responsible for all aspects of running the facility, primarily focusing on safety, programming, personnel, and administrative duties to provide a well-maintained and engaging aquatic environment for the community and ensure the public’s safety.

Potential Premises Liability Lawsuit

Based on the details provided, this tragic drowning incident at Liberty Lake Day Camp could potentially lead to a premises liability case against the camp. Specifically, it may fall under negligent supervision or failure to provide adequate safety measures.

With an investigation to take place, key factors will be examined to determine if there was negligence leading to a wrongful death.

  • The drowning occurred in the shallow end of the pool during a supervised swim session for young campers, indicating possible inadequate supervision by lifeguards and staff.
  • Comments from a family who recently visited the camp suggested understaffing of lifeguards and a lack of appropriately-sized life jackets for children, which could demonstrate negligence in providing proper safety equipment and personnel.

In a premises liability case, the plaintiff (likely the child’s family) would need to prove that the camp, as the property owner, failed to maintain a safe environment or provide adequate supervision, directly resulting in the child’s drowning.

They would need to show that the camp breached its duty of care by not having enough lifeguards, lacking proper safety gear, or allowing overcrowding that compromised safety.

Ultimately, a thorough investigation into the incident, safety practices, and supervision during the drowning would be necessary to establish whether the camp could be liable in a premises liability case for negligent supervision or failure to maintain safe premises for its young campers.

Image via Fox29

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