Amendment to Summer Camps (Article 48 of the NYC Health Code)

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Monday, January 27, 2020
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Rule


The Board of Health is amending Article 48 of the New York City Health Code, which governs summer camps operating in New York City (“NYC”) for children under age 16.  Article 48 provides standards of service and operational requirements designed to protect the health and well-being of children while camping and has not been significantly updated since its repeal and reenactment in 1982.  In 2016, the New York State (“NYS”) Department of Health substantially updated its regulations relating to children’s camps contained in the NYS Sanitary Code (“Sanitary Code”), located in 10 NYCRR Part 7, Subpart 7-2, particularly as to camps that serve children with developmental disabilities.


The Board adopts these changes primarily to be consistent with NYS Department of Health regulations adopted in 2016 relating to children’s camps contained in the NYS Sanitary Code (“Sanitary Code”), located in 10 NYCRR Part 7, Subpart 7-2, particularly as to its updated requirements for camps serving children with disabilities. Sanitary Code protections for developmentally disabled children that are being adopted in these rules provide that:

  • Staff that have direct care responsibilities of campers with disabilities must receive training relevant to the specific needs of the campers in their charge;
  • Camps must obtain and implement, as appropriate, care and treatment plans for campers with disabilities that have such plans as well as obtain other available information relevant to the care and specific needs of a camper with disabilities including pre-existing medical conditions, allergies, modified diets, and activity restrictions;
  • During swimming activities, camps must provide one counselor for each camper who is non-ambulatory or has a disability that may result in an increased risk for an emergency in the water;
  • Camps must obtain parent/guardian’s written permission to allow campers with developmentally disabilities to participate in swimming activities;
  • Camps must develop procedures and training for handling seizures or aspiration of water by campers with developmental disabilities that may occur during swimming activities;
  • All lavatories and showers used by campers with physical disabilities must be equipped with specialized features and grab bars;
  • Lavatories and showers used by campers with a disability, who are unable to moderate water temperature safely, shall have a water temperature not greater than 110 degrees Fahrenheit;
  • Buildings housing non-ambulatory campers shall have ramps to facilitate access.
  • Non-ambulatory campers may not have housing above ground level; and
  • Exterior paths must be constructed and maintained, as appropriate for the camp population served, to provide for safe travel during inclement weather.

Specifically, these Article 48 amendments include, among other things:

  • a revised and expanded definitions section (§48.03)
  • revised record keeping and due process requirements (§§48.07, 48.09)
  • updated staffing, screening, training and ratio requirements (§§48.09, 48.11 and 48.12)
  • elimination of religious exemptions from child vaccination requirements (§48.17)
  • updated developmental disability camp requirements, including for incident reporting, investigation and enforcement (§48.25).


Legal Authority

These amendments to the Health Code are adopted pursuant to §§ 558 and 1043 of the NYC Charter.  Sections 558 (b) and (c) of the Charter empower the Board to amend the Health Code and to include in the Health Code all matters to which the authority of the Department extends.  § 1043 grants the Department rule-making authority. 

“Shall” and “must” denote mandatory requirements and may be used interchangeably in the text below, unless otherwise specified or unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.