Keeping Youth Safe on Church Trips
Simple Ways to Account for Student’s & Ensure Everyone stays Safe
There are several safety issues that surround each child during a trip and child safety is the most critical aspect to any place of worship outing that involves students. Here are some tips on how you can keep youth safe while still having fun on a church trip.
The adults that supervise and chaperone the trips are the first line of defense for ensuring safety for everyone attending. Accountability can only be successful if the adult to child ratio is correct, meaning there should only be a certain number of children assigned to each adult. Each chaperone should know their children’s first and last names, and any medical concerns that they may have. It is also important that chaperones have the cell phone numbers of those they are responsible for, so they have a way to easily contact them if concerns arise over accountability.
The buddy system is something that students should be practicing. Young children need to be supervised by an adult at all times, but teenagers can benefit greatly from using this system. The adults simply provide a time and place to meet back and the teens practice safety by staying with one or more people from their group. Chaperones should frequently remind them about the buddy system, but should trust their judgement and give them rules to follow, such as, don’t go past the parking lot. As the old saying goes, “There is safety in numbers.”
Prior to starting the trip, it is important to have a brief meeting in which expectations are discussed. This is most effective when parents and guardians are present, so they can remind their children. Expectations should include how the children are to present themselves and rules that must be followed such as curfews, and the consequences for breaking major rules. If expectations are discussed early on, it reduces confusion of all parties involved.
Medical Release/Liability Waivers
Medical releases and signed participation and liability waivers are critical to the safety of children in your care on a trip. A participation and liability waiver, signed by the parent or guardian is a binding legal document that can be used if a liability issue arises and acknowledges the risks, if any that are involved. A signed medical release by the parent or guardian gives adults chaperoning the legal right to approve medical services for each child if an incident or emergency should occur. Without this, the child cannot receive medical care. Medical releases and participation waivers should be taken on the trip and easily accessible in the event of an emergency.
Christopher Dodd said, “Children are our greatest asset and our most precious treasure.” Keeping them safe is critical and easily attainable when following a few simple tips. Accountability, the buddy system, explaining expectations, and having proper paperwork are cost effective and proven steps that allow for a safe church trip. What are other ways that you keep students safe while travelling for various trips?