This summer, many groups will be headed to pools, lakes, and beaches to escape the heat and enjoy some fun. Regardless of whether it’s a church group, summer day camp, or community organization, group outings can be a fun and potentially dangerous scenario, especially when water is involved.
While group outings seem like a safer situation because there are so many individuals that could be looking after your child, sensory overload can cause the adult supervisors to lose track of individual children. To help parents evaluate their child’s safety in a group setting, the American Red Cross offers some essential questions to ask before your child gets on the bus.
May I see the written safety plan? Supervisors should have a plan to help maintain the safety of the children in their care. By asking this question before the departure date, you could help bring their potential lack of planning to their attention and help to ensure the safety of others in the group.
Will the group only be swimming in areas with a certified lifeguard? Whether at the pool or beach, it’s important for parents to know if a trained lifeguard will be monitoring the children’s playtime for saftey. For effective surveillance of the water and optimal safety, the standard rate of swimmers to lifeguard should not exceed 20-to-1.
What is the chaperone-to-child ratio? A group outing with five chaperones sounds great, until you hear that 100 children will be present. By understanding how many children each supervisor will be responsible for, you can make a better judgment on the plan that the group has in place.
What activities are planned, and how will they be supervised? Different water activities pose different risks. Additionally, some activities may require more skill in the water than others. By discussing the activities that are planned, you can help the chaperones understand your child’s skill level in the water.
How will a child’s swimming ability be evaluated and tracked? Whether it’s color coded swim caps or specified groups based upon ability, it’s important for individual chaperones to understand the abilities of each child in their care.
How will children be prevented from participating in activities that are above their skill levels? Especially in a large group, it will happen; some children will not have the necessary skills to participate in all activities. In that case, where will those children be directed and who will supervise them?
Is there a system in place to quickly account for all children? Whether it’s role calls, buddy systems, or small group counts, every group outing should have a way to quickly and efficiently know whether every member is present. This process should be practiced at least once at the beginning of the outing.
What levels of training are required for the staff (such as lifeguards) and chaperones? Understand whether the lifeguards are certified lifeguards, and ask about the skills of the chaperones. Are they trained in water safety, first aid, and CPR?
Premier Can Help You Prepare Your Chaperones
At Premier Aquatic Services, we specialize in keeping our community safe around the water. If you plan on having regular group outings during the summer and fall, you may consider enrolling your regular chaperones and supervisors in one of our Health and Safety Classes. If you are hosting an event at your local pool, you may consider hiring a professional Certified Premier Lifeguard to ensure the safety of your guests. Regardless of your needs, the team at Premier Aquatic Services wants you to have safe group outings all year round. Contact us to discuss what we can do to help you promote safety.
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