In New York, the State Department of Health recently went public with a list of classic games that pose a “significant risk of injury,” including wiffleball, red rover, dodgeball, kickball, freeze tag, capture the flag, and tetherball.
Under the new regulations, a summer program that allows children to play these "risky" games would be forced to pay $200 to register as a camp and pay for additional medical staff.
Luckily, New York State Senator Patty Ritchie has stepped in to advocate for common sense. Worried that the new list of “risky” activities would cripple local summer youth programs, she told TIME, “having kids sitting in the corner instead of outside playing isn’t the point of a quality summer camp anyway.” She has asked the Health Department to rethink the guidelines—and they are doing just that.
Public comment on the issue is still open until May. Sign our online petition to tell New York Health Department Public Affairs Director Claudia Hutton to allow summer youth programs to share the joy of red rover without the red tape.
We live in a day and age where one in three children are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity poses a far more serious threat to our children's well-being than kickball, and depriving children of the opportunity to engage in healthy, active, outdoor activities for fear of a scraped knee or sprained ankle defies common sense.
We all care about our children's safety. Yet at the same time, we must accept the reasonable levels of risk that outdoor play entails and avoid falling prey to paranoia. To attempt to control each and every potential threat that our children may encounter deprives them of crucial opportunities to learn, move, grow, and challenge themselves.
As you rethink these guidelines, I sincerely hope that common sense will prevail.