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What are the Supervision Duties of Day Care Centers, Camps, and Schools During Field Trips?

By David Wolf, Attorney
Published by Child Injury Lawyer Network


One of the best experience for a child enrolled in a day care center, school, or summer camp is the field trip. It certainly can be an adventure for the day to get out to a different location and have fun with friends. Common destinations for field trips include: swimming pools, beaches, amusement parks, theme parks, movie theaters, historic sites, and other locations. Typically, a field trip is a great experience for a child.
Unfortunately for some children, a field trip can also be a day filled with pain and suffering resulting physical injuries and even the death of an innocent child.

It is important for day care centers, summer camps, and schools to have policies and procedures in place during field trip related activities. Adherence to these policies and procedures along with compliance with applicable state and local rules regulations ordinances can help prevent serious injuries from taking place during a field trip related activity.

What if the child is injured during the field trip? Any time a child is outside the safe confines of his or her home – there is a risk or danger of personal injuries. There are certainly risks and dangers associated any forms of transportation. There are also dangers and risks anytime that there is water as the main part of the activity (i.e. swimming) or bodies of water nearby (i.e. lakes, rivers, ponds, canals, and oceans).

If a child is injured, the first thing that the supervising adult should do is the stablize and calm the child and seek medical attention when necessary. At times, a first aid kit is all that is needed to address the child’s injuries. In other cases, fire rescue should be called in and when necessary transport to an emergency room, urgent care center or pediatrician’s office.

If an injury is foreseeable and preventable, then there may be a civil case or claim to pursue. Under these circumstances, a parent should discuss the potential case with a Child Injury Lawyer. There are a few general safety guidelines that should be followed in any given field trip including the following:

Children should wear the same color shirt when possible to make roll call and identification during supervision much easier;

Roll call should be repeatedly taken during transporation and during the visit to the destintation to make sure that all children are accounted for;

A buddy system should be put in place for each and every child;

Chaperones and volunteers should be trained and attentive during the field trip;

There should be a sufficient amount of staff members in place during the field trip;

Rules for the field trip should be discussed with all child care providers, volunteers, chaperones, and, yes, the children.

The book – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on day care center injuries, school injuries, amusement and theme park related injuries, swimming and water related injuries, and other topics. You can get this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

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