- Describe what matters most when transporting children and youth and while they are on field trips.
- Identify management practices that ensure staff keep children and youth safe when being transported and while they are on field trips.
- Apply the content of this lesson to ensure children and youth are transported safely.
Transporting Children and Youth
Risks elevate when children and youth are being transported. According to the Center for Injury Research and Prevention, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death among children. You can mitigate the risk by ensuring that vehicles are safe, drivers meet all requirements, and safety procedures are followed.
As the facility manager, it is your responsibility to ensure that vehicles used to transport children comply with yourPUBLIC program’s vehicle requirements. It's also imperative that vehicle drivers are properly licensed and meet all requirements of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. If necessary, two staff members may transport one child in a government vehicle.
You must exercise due diligence and sound judgment when it comes to transporting children and youth. You are accountable for ensuring that children and youth are never transported in an unsafe vehicle, transported by unsafe individuals, or transported in staff vehicles. Systems for tracking vehicles and drivers must be followed at all times and concerns addressed immediately. In addition, you need to have staff and children routinely practice safe transportation drills.
Field trips provide extended learning experiences for children and youth and can be excellent for enriching the curriculum. Careful planning and preparation are important to keeping everyone safe while they have a good time.
If the field trip involves swimming, extra caution should be taken. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning remains the second-leading unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years.
Management Practices that Support Transportation and Field Trips
The chart below summarizes your key responsibilities when it comes to ensuring children and youth are safe while being transported and on field trips.
The Importance of Sound Judgment
Sound judgment is a blend of common sense, business intelligence, and an understanding of people. As a manager, you are expected to exercise good judgment in every decision you make.
To make good decisions based on sound judgment you must know yourPUBLIC program’s protocols and policies inside and out, use data gathered from checklists and assessments to immediately address safety concerns, and take the perspective of your staff members into account. Sound judgment is absolutely critical to keeping everyone in your program safe from harm.
Watch this video as a reminder why transportation procedures matter so much.
Take time during a staff meeting or have supervisors, trainers, or coaches ask staff members to identify possible emergency situations that could occur on field trips. Assign groups of staff members to research and write up solutions for each situation identified. At a subsequent staff meeting, review assignments and add any additional input.
Take the emergency situations and solutions from the Explore activity and create a question-and-answer document to be included in a field trip binder that would accompany every field trip. This same information could also be used to develop a risk assessment plan for use by staff members taking field trips. Be sure each answer is aligned to your PUBLIC program’spolicies and procedures.
Parents Central, From Car Seats for Car Keys: Keeping Kids Safe homepage. (n.d.). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Available at http://www.safercar.gov/parents/index.htm