7 On Your Side: 8-year-old camper suffers 2nd degree sunburn

Nina Pineda Image
Tuesday, July 18, 2017
7 On Your Side: 8-year-old camper suffers 2nd degree sunburn
Orange County parents say their 8-year-old son wasn't allowed access to his sun-block

WALDEN, New York (WABC) -- Orange County parents say their 8-year-old son wasn't allowed access to his sun-block. That's when his parents say he suffered first and second degree sunburns.

Burnt and blistered, the sun-scorched shoulders belong to 8-year-old Dougie Shermer. It was July 5th, his first day at the Village of Walden Summer Camp. Dougie's parents say they lathered him up in the morning. But...

"He came back, he was in tears, he was red as a lobster," his mother said.

After swimming in the lake, Dougie says he asked permission to get his sunscreen out of his knapsack.

"What did you say to your counselor?" 7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda asked.

"I said, 'Can I put on sunscreen?'" Dougie said.

"And what did he say?" Pineda asked.

"He said 'no,'" Dougie said.

A day later, his shoulders and back then burst into dozens of painful blisters, he continues to suffer, so much it brings his grandma to tears.

"It was very upsetting to know that he was in their care and this happened," said LuAnn Shermer, grandmother.

The Shermer's pediatrician's diagnosis? First and second degree burns caused by the searing sun.

"I talked to other parents. They had the same story with their children, that they weren't allowed to go get sunscreen. Not even the counselor to put it on, just for them to do themselves," said Doug Shermer, Dougie's father.

They're sharing their sunburn stories online.

"Both my kids got sunburn yesterday too," wrote one parent.

"My son said same, they told him he couldn't put it on," another said.

Dougie's parents pulled him out of camp after that first day, and asked the camp director for a refund of the six-week program.

"Over and over, no refunds. Just that's their policy," Doug said.

But after 7 On Your Side got involved, a representative from PayPal sent an email to the Shermer's saying, "It disgusted me that anyone could actively participate in furthering another person's agony."

As a result PayPal issued a full refund, $375, on its own.

After the online complaints, the village sent an email to parents saying counselors "aren't permitted to apply sun-block directly onto campers." They are "willing to store sun block" for "children to apply themselves."

Village of Walden statement:

"The Village of Walden takes the safety of all of the children who attend our various camps, which are held throughout the year, very seriously. We are very proud of all of the programs organized by our Parks and Recreation Department. Approximately 7,790 children attend these programs over the course of a year. The Village has no further comment on this matter for your broadcast. My prior email was not on the record. Thank you.

-John J. Revella, Esq., Village Manager"