N.Y. backs off limits on kickball, tag

Associated Press / April 20, 2011

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ALBANY, N.Y. — Maybe they’re risky, but day camp games like tag, Red Rover, and kickball are no longer at risk in New York after state health officials yanked a proposal that threatened the future of those mainstays of child’s play.

Towns, villages, and camp operators had begun revamping upcoming indoor summer programs after the Department of Health sent out a long list of familiar games and activities it said presented a “significant risk of injury’’ and needed to be regulated more closely.

But after a state senator’s call Friday for a delay in the regulation generated a buzz of news reports, the department reversed course yesterday, saying the rules proposed under the previous administration were too specific.

“The practical effect is that we are not going to get that detailed and into micromanagement,’’ department spokeswoman Claudia Hutton said of the decision.

She said the department will continue gathering information during a comment period that ends May 16 and will formulate new safety regulations that are broader and deal more with potentially dangerous conditions than specific games.

The regulations are required under a 2009 law meant to close a loophole that allowed indoor day camps to operate without the same state oversight applied to outdoor camps, targeting “nonpassive recreational activities with significant risk of injury.’’ The law took effect April 1.

State Senator Patricia Ritchie of Watertown sent a letter to the state health commissioner asking for reconsideration of the regulations after hearing from a local mayor. top stories on Twitter

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