Friday, April 22, 2011

Are Kickball and Tag Too Dangerous for Kids? | LiveScience

Until yesterday afternoon, the New York State Health Department was ready to declare whiffle ball, kickball and freeze tag too dangerous for kids to play at summer recreational programs without a medical professional present. But after outcry from some state lawmakers, the department has decided to reconsider its stance.

At first, the Health Department's list of games that pose a "significant risk to injury" — which also included horseshoes, capture-the-flag, dodgeball and most team sports — came with regulations: Any summer program offering two or more games or activities and at least one of those on the list must take all the same safety precautions as a full-fledged summer camp, including having a medical professional on staff, hiring a camp director with a bachelor's degree and 26 weeks of camp experience, and keeping detailed records.

State lawmakers, however, said the health officials went too far with the regulations, which they introduced to comply with a 2009 law on summer camp oversight, and that the regulations would put a lot of small, non-profit local recreation programs out of business. In response, Health Department officials plan to reassess their position, and focus more on potentially dangerous conditions rather than specific games. "There will be flexibility in how the law is implemented," department spokesperson Diane Mathis told the press yesterday (April 19).

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