Day-Camp Excursions

• The setup and takedown of the activity. (This should take place before the children arrive and after they leave.)

• Safety rules needed for the activity.

• The staff member who will be responsible for responding to an emergency. (That person should be currently certified in CPR and first aid for the age level of participants. Remember, child CPR is different than adult.)

• Is there an emergency action plan for staged water activities?

• What the children will wear for the activity. (Is a change of clothes needed?)

• Ways of limiting contagion risk in sharing non-chlorinated water, as well as in sharing equipment.

• Any additional parent permission needed.

Water activities are a high point of summer for millions of children. Promote the activities in brochures and on your website. Let parents know that you are planning for the safety of each child. Depending on the type of venue and water activity, precautions might include:

• Limiting the type(s) of water activities available to various age groups

• Ensuring certified lifeguards are on duty

• Monitoring lifeguard-to-participant ratio

• Increasing staff-to-participant ratio during aquatic activities

• Requiring a preliminary swim test to determine skill levels.

Although water is a highlight and attraction for day camps, it also requires a little extra planning to ensure it is safe. With a few additional steps, you and your parents can have peace of mind while the participants have a ball!

Susan Grosse is a Water Safety Instructor Trainer and Lifeguarding Instructor Trainer for the American Red Cross. She is nationally recognized for her presentations, as well as publishing in the area of aquatics. Her areas of specialty are risk management, instructional swim, therapeutic/adapted aquatics, aquatic exercise, and canoeing. She has worked at both day camps and resident camps in Wisconsin. She can be reached via e-mail at sjgrosse@execpc.com.

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