(CBS) — A day at summer camp led to second-degree burns for one eight year old.
As CBS 2 Investigator Dave Savini discovered, what happened to him that day at camp should be a warning to all parents. He spoke with the boy and his family.
The pain was excruciating for 8-year-old Danny Greco. He was diagnosed with second-degree burns on his shoulders after a Downer’s Grove YMCA camp field trip to a water park.
“I was in tears,” says Danny, whose burns were so severe, his T-shirt stuck to the wounds.
A special cream had to be repeatedly applied to his very sensitive skin, which was a painful process.
“It hurt really bad,” he says.
The boy says camp counselors did not apply sunscreen. He was left to do it himself, even the hard-to-reach places. His mother, Kelly Greco, says her son’s counselors should have helped him with sunscreen — especially on what was a very sunny hot day playing in water.
“He shouldn’t have had to endure all that over something that was preventable,” she says. “There’s a lesson to be learned in this.”
The family has hired Attorney Shawn Collins, who says the camp didn’t follow its own procedures.
“I also want to add, didn’t follow common sense,” he adds.
Collins says the camp’s policy is for counselors to reapply sunscreen as needed. He calls the policy vague and says it should have more specific guidelines to protect children like Danny who could face long-term health effects.
“There’s an increase possibility even of skin cancer, all because of a failure to protect,” Collins says.
After a month of doctor visits and creams, Danny is on the mend and playing youth baseball again. The skin on his shoulders and back will need to be monitored and protected from UV rays.
“He’s got some recovery now, just building that skin up,” Kelly Greco says. “And more importantly is he’s got years of possible sensitivity to sun. So, it doesn’t end with just it healing.”
Danny wants his story to serve as a warning for all camps, parents and kids, too. He says counselors need to help campers stay safe in the sun.
Kelly Greco says the camp has repeatedly apologized.
The YMCA of Metro Chicago, in a statement to CBS 2, acknowledges sunscreen was not properly used on Danny and that his counselor is “shaken” and “regretful.” Camp officials say all camp staff were given a firm reminder about sunscreen policy.
Here is the YMCA of Metro Chicago’s full statement:
“The YMCA of Metro Chicago takes the safety of all youth in our programs very seriously, including making sure they are adequately protected from excessive sun exposure by careful planning of outdoor activities and through the use of sunscreen or protective clothing. Our program—a credited [sic] By the American Camp Association–r quires [sic] camp counselors to apply and/or assist campers in the application of sunscreen throughout the day. In this isolated incident, which occurred during a June water park visit, the camp counselor didn’t adequately ensure that the youth had an application; this resulted in significant sunburn. We take this incident very seriously and we had several follow up conversations with his mother to monitor his recovery and ensure she and her son know how sincerely sorry we are that this happened. We have taken additional steps to ensure this does not happen again with any child in our care. These include a special meeting with counselor staff to review our Association sun-safe training and a firm reminder to all Association staff about our policy to reapply sunscreen throughout the day. Further, we took appropriate action to address the issue with Danny’s camp counselor who is understandably shaken and regretful.”