It doesn’t matter how old the kids are. When it comes to making sure they don’t get seriously hurt on field trips, a little bit of common sense goes a long way. With that in mind, here are some easy tips that everyone can follow to ensure that the kids stay safe on school outings.
Tips for teachers to avoid personal injuries
Although there is no way to guarantee that everything goes smoothly, careful planning is key to ensuring student safety on field trips.To keep yourself and your kids free from personal injury during this process, be sure to:
- Be proactive about identifying and addressing potential trouble – Don’t be afraid to talk to the parents of any students who have a penchant for acting out in class. This is because disruptive behavior on the field trip could not only ruin the experience for the rest of the group, but also create potential safety risks that could lead to serious personal injury for the other students by distracting teachers and chaperones. Depending on the outcome of the discussion, plan to provide extra supervision for the outing or make alternative plans for those students who could cause injury or harm others.
- Make sure the parents have detailed information – Along with permission slips prepare detailed information for the parents about the destination, supervision, transportation, time of departure, return, how the child should dress and what they should bring.
- Make sure you’ll have enough help – Make sure to recruit enough help from your colleagues and parents so there is adequate supervision based on the size of the group and destination. The larger the group the greater the chance that injuries can occur.
- Encourage the kids to look out for each other – Another way to avoid personal injury is to make sure that before the trip, let the kids know that they’ll be responsible for keeping an eye on each other, too. Make sure they know how the buddy system works, and the importance of staying with their buddies or in their groups.
- Consult with the school nurse – Talk to her about any students with allergies, medical conditions or other issues of concern. You should also take this opportunity to make sure that you’ll be able to bring any medicines that your students will have to take on the day of the field trip, and that you know how to administer them.
By the day of the field trip, you should have a good idea of how many kids are going. Reaffirm that number before you leave, and be sure to do multiple “head counts” to keep track of everyone throughout the day.
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Advice for parents to avoid personal injuries
By signing a permission slip that allows your child to take a field trip, you are legally entrusting your child’s safety to the teachers and chaperones in charge of the outing, as well as to the school board/school district that sanctioned it. But your responsibility as a parent goes far beyond signing the slip. To keep your child safe from personal Injury you can also take matters into your own hands by:
- Making sure your kids know how to behave – By talking to your child/children before hand, you can ensure that they know what to expect and why it’s important to behave properly.
- Consulting with the teacher(s) – Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the field trip before allowing your kids to go. If nothing else, having specific information about how supervision, transportation and so forth will help you feel more comfortable about whom your children are with, where they are going and how they’ll get there.
- Taking certain precautions with younger kids to avoid personal injury – Making sure that younger kids have written contact information with them will ensure that you are promptly notified if anything happens, and that they can be reunited with their classmates if they are lost, accidentally separated from the group, or even injured.
- Making it easier to keep track of your child – Chances are that the adults in charge of the excursion will have their hands full keeping track of all of the kids. Do what you can to make this easier by making sure your child is wearing bright colors or other distinctive clothing that will make it easier to spot them in a crowd.
- Informing the teacher(s)/chaperones about any concerns – Make sure the adults leading the outing are aware of any special concerns, such as your child’s allergies, medical conditions, any existing injury or injuries, behavior issues, or phobias that may surface on the trip.
Safety pointers for kids
For older (high school and middle school) students, field trips are usually no big deal. If anything, it’s a welcome change from the daily routine. For younger kids, a field trip is a chance to have an adventure and learn something new. But no matter how old you are, you should always follow certain rules to ensure that you and your classmates are safe from harm or personal injury.
- Behave on the bus – It’s understandable if you’re excited about the excursion. But don’t get too rambunctious, especially on the bus. Being loud and rowdy, or goofing around with your friends could distract the driver and increase the risk of a being injured in a school bus accident. Or you could accidentally hurt one of your classmates.
- Stay with the group – Avoid the temptation to go off by yourself and know where to go if you are accidentally separated from your group. Be aware of your surroundings, just in case there is no designated meeting place. This way, you will know where to ask for help if you get lost. A security guard, police officer, someone at an information desk, first aid station or the main entrance should be able to help you find your classmates.
- Listen to the adults – Of course you want to have a good time. Believe it or not, your teachers and chaperones want you to enjoy yourself, too. But the bottom line is that they are in charge, and they are responsible for making sure nothing serious happens. As long as everyone listens and follows instructions, there’ll be less chances of someone getting hurt.
- Pay attention to the weather forecast – And dress accordingly. If you’re too hot, too cold or drenched because you didn’t bring a raincoat, you won’t have a good time. And if you don’t have the right footwear, you may even slip and fall.
- Don’t take any unnecessary risks – If you’re lucky, you’ll get to go to the zoo, an amusement park or even a fun museum with lots of interactive exhibits. Look out for potential dangers, such as high traffic areas, open animal enclosures, or machinery with lots of moving parts, and be sure to act accordingly.
When all is said and done, field trips should be – and usually are – fun, educational experiences. And while there is always potential for minor mishaps, there are simple steps that teachers, parents and students can take to ensure that there are no major catastrophes or injury.
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