2012 Children's Camp Incident Summary

chart of 2012 incidents

In 2012, local health departments reported an estimated 2,933 regulated children's camps operated in New York State.

Of these 2,933 children's camps:

  • 561 were overnight camps
  • 2,472 were day camps, including 384 municipal day camps and 40 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. Camp operators are required 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 1,153 incidents (2,520 victims), meeting Subpart 7-2 of the New York State Sanitary Code criteria for reportable incidents, were reported statewide in 2012--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 2012 reportable incidents. The data used to prepare this summary is available, Incident Summary Data.


During the 2012 camping season, there were 836 injuries reported. This represents a 7.5 percent decrease compared to the 10-year average of reportable injuries occurring at children's camps.


There were 49 illness outbreaks reported during the 2012 camping season, as detailed in the table below. There were several gastrointestinal outbreaks which were on-going for multiple weeks and affected a large number of campers and staff. Analysis of the outbreaks found that inadequate isolation and control procedures were implemented by camps and likely contributed to the extended duration of the outbreaks.

Outbreak Type Number of Outbreaks Number of Cases
Gastrointestinal 17 911
Respiratory Infection 11 223
Coxsackie virus 7 33
Head Lice 6 73
Conjunctivitis 2 57
Impetigo 2 34
Other Skin Infections 3 12
Influenza like illness 1 22
Total 49 1365

Allegations of Abuse

There were 11 allegations of abuse against campers reported during the 2012 camping season. Of these, 7 victims were alleged to have suffered physical abuse, and 6 victims were alleged to have suffered sexual abuse. The alleged perpetrators were counselors in 6 incidents and another camper in 5 incidents.

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 12 probable bat-exposure incidents, resulting in 61 potential camper and staff rabies exposures during the 2012 camping season. In 7 of these incidents, the bats were not captured, which resulted in 16 individuals being recommended for rabies post exposure prophylaxis. In the remaining 5 incidents, the bat was captured and tested negative for rabies, which resulted in treatment being avoided for 43 individuals.

Epinephrine Administration

There were 23 incidents in which Epinephrine was administered during the 2012 camping season. Of these, 9 administrations were necessary for insect bites (8 bee or wasp stings and 1 biting ant) and 13 for food allergies.

Epinephrine was administered in 11 instances where the camp was identified as participating in the Epinephrine Auto-Injector program. There were 11 Epinephrine administrations at camps not participating in the epinephrine auto-injector program. In one case, it is unknown whether or not the camp participated in an epinephrine auto-injector program. Of these, 8 auto-injectors were identified as from the camp's supply, 9 from the patient's personal supply, and 6 were hospital supplied.

In 2012, approximately 240 camps participated in the Epinephrine Auto Injector Program. These administrations highlight the importance of the Epinephrine auto-injector program, which allows children's camps to stock and special trained staff to administer Epi-pens to patients that may not know they have a severe allergy, or do not have their own Epi-pen with them.


There were no camper or staff fatalities reported at regulated children's camps during the 2012 season.

Incident Summary Report Data