2011 Children's Camp Incident Summary

chart of 2011 injuries

In 2011, local health departments reported that 3,009 children's camps operated in New York State.

Of these 3,009 children's camps:

  • 575 were overnight camps
  • 2,434 were day camps, including 421 municipal day camps and 25 traveling summer day camps.

It is estimated that over 900,000 children attend New York State children's camps each year.

To assess the health and safety at camps, a children's camp incident surveillance system is maintained. This system requires camp operators to report serious injuries, illness and allegations of camper abuse to local health departments, who investigate the incidents and enter information into an electronic database.

A total of 1,101 incidents (1,422 children and staff) meeting Subpart 7-2 of the New York State Sanitary Code criteria for reportable incidents were reported statewide in 2011, indicating that less than two-tenths of 1% of campers experience injury and illness while at camp. Statewide analysis of the data is used for injury prevention and control and has been used to amend the State Sanitary Code and develop administrative guidance. The following summarizes the 2011 reportable incidents.


There were 865 injuries reported during the 2011 camping season. This represents a 5% decrease compared to the ten year average of reportable injuries occurring at children's camps.


There were 28 illness outbreaks reported during the 2011 camping season, as detailed in the table below.

Outbreak Type Number of Outbreaks Number of Cases
Pediculosis - Head Lice 12 76
Gastrointestinal 8 189
Conjunctivitis 3 18
Impetigo 1 46
Respiratory Infection 1 13
Bronchitis 1 4
Pneumonia 1 3
Coxsackie Virus 1 2

Allegations of Abuse

There were six allegations of abuse against campers reported during the 2011 camping season. Of these, two victims were alleged to have suffered physical abuse, and four victims were alleged to have suffered sexual abuse. The alleged perpetrator was a counselor in two incidents and another camper in four incidents. The perpetrator (a camper) was the same in two separate allegations involving different campers.

Allegations of abuse are investigated by law enforcement when they may contain violations of Penal Law. The local health department investigates all allegations to determine if the camp complied with supervision, staffing and other policies and procedures required by the camp regulations.

Rabies Exposures

There were 4 probable bat-exposure incidents resulting in 11 potential camper and staff rabies exposures during the 2011 camping season. In two of these incidents, the bats were not captured, which resulted in 8 individuals (7 in one incident) being recommended for rabies post exposure prophylaxis. In the remaining two incidents, the bat was captured and tested negative for rabies, which resulted in post exposure prophylaxis treatment being avoided for 3 individuals. Over the last two years there has been a significant decrease in the number of potential rabies exposures from bats. This may be attributed to the dramatic die-off of the New York State bat population due to a disease commonly referred to as "White-Nose Syndrome."

In addition to the probable bat-exposures, there were potential rabies exposures from three dog bites, two horse bites and one rabbit bite. Post exposure prophylaxis was not necessary in any of these incidents after determining the animals were not infected with rabies.

Epinephrine Administration

There were 16 incidents in which Epinephrine was administered during the 2011 camping season. Of these, five administrations were necessary for bee or wasp stings, four for food allergies, one for a bite from an unidentified insect, one for a reaction to medication, one from an asthma attack, one from a reaction to latex gloves, and three from unidentified sources.

Epinephrine was administered in three instances where the camp was identified as participating in the Epinephrine Auto-Injector (epi-pen) program. Of these, two epi-pens were identified as from the camp's supply and one from the patient's personal supply.

There were ten Epinephrine administrations at camps not participating in the epi-pen program. Of these, six personal epi-pens, one camp supplied epi-pen, two hospital supplied epi-pens, and one epi-pen from another camper were administered.

In three cases, it is unknown whether or not the camp participated in an epi-pen program. In all three of these cases, the epi-pen was from the camp's supply.


There were no camper fatalities reported at regulated children's camps during the 2011 season.

There was one counselor fatality reported. A 19 year-old counselor drowned while attempting to swim across a river. The incident occurred at a remote lean-to site on the camp's property when the staff and campers went to the river to obtain a group picture. A 17 year-old staff member, a 16-year-old camper and the victim split from the group and attempted to swim across the river when the victim was overcome by the strong current due to recent heavy rain. The 16 year-old camper swam back to the struggling counselor and attempted a pull him to safety but was unable to complete the rescue due to fatigue and the strong current. The victim disappeared beneath the water and was not located until almost 24 hours after submerging.

Incident Summary Report Data