Our friend Sarah Nemecek from BGCA’s Child Safety team is back with what you need to know t keep youth safe this summer.
Field trips and outdoor activities make summer programs at Boys & Girls Clubs extra fun. Yet,
summer weather – including high temperatures and extreme heat, lightning, and humidity – bring
increased risks to staff and youth health and well-being. Today we are bringing you tips and links to
resources on how to stay safe and be prepared for the summer.
Stay Cool, Hydrated, and Protect Yourself and Others from the Sun
Heat-related illnesses from high temperatures, such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion, and
exposure to the sun, such as sunburn and heat rash, are preventable. Club staff and youth can take
measures like these to protect themselves from extreme heat and sun:
- Stay hydrated with water, avoid sugary beverages
- Stay cool in the shade and air-conditioned areas, when possible
- Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothes
- Protect your skin with sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher and wear wide-brimmed hats
- Schedule outdoor activities carefully and take frequent breaks in the shade
- Do not leave anyone in a parked vehicle, especially children
- Learn the signs and symptoms of heat-related illness
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides more tips for staying safe in the
heat and sun on its website: Stay Cool, Stay Hydrated, and Stay Informed. The following
infographics can also be displayed in public areas or posted on social media to educate the
communities you serve about recognizing, preventing, and treating heat-related illness:
- Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heat-Related Illness
- Infographic: Beat the Heat
- Extreme Weather & Emergency Preparedness and Response Infographics
Typically, many aquatic venues see high rates of use over the summer months. The Boys & Girls
Clubs of America (BGCA) Safety Team has produced this annual summer aquatics safety resource
to help aquatic professionals prepare for a safe and enjoyable summer swim season: 2022 Summer
Aquatic Safety Reminder. The CDC also provides this guidance on how to stop the spread of germs
at splash pads.
Camp season is also now upon us. That means many campers will be heading to the pool or
waterfront. Now is the perfect time to ensure that every staff/counselor is clear about their role and
responsibilities when around pools or waterfronts. So, take the time to review this guidance from Redwoods Insurance – The Critical Role of Counselors in Aquatic Safety – and remind your
- Pool time does not equal break time for staff/counselors- in fact, it’s a time when they are needed the most!
- Staff/Counselors are a critical layer of protection, enforcing rules and monitoring behavior, allowing lifeguards to focus on the water
- Best practices recommend instituting a staff (Water Watcher) to swimmer ratio of 1:10
Plan for Extreme Weather
Due to changing temperatures, summer months may bring more severe weather events, such as lightning, tornadoes, thunderstorms, and flooding. Because this weather can be unpredictable, and happen quickly, it is important to remain vigilant and be prepared for the possibility of extreme weather when planning outdoor activities. The CDC provides this guidance for staying safe during summer storms:
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission provides this Public Playground Safety
Checklist to prevent injuries that may occur when children fall from playground equipment onto the
ground. Follow these tips to inspect a playground before use:
- Make sure surfaces around playground equipment have at least 12 inches of wood chips, mulch, sand, or pea gravel, or are mats made of safety-tested rubber or rubber-like materials
- Check that protective surfacing extends at least 6 feet in all directors from play equipment
Update Emergency Operations Plans
Ensure that Emergency Operation Plans (EOPs) are updated with response protocols for common
summer hazards, including extreme weather events and natural- and human-caused disasters.
Ensure that EOPs include protocols that address outdoor activities, off-site programs, and field trips.
View BGCA’s Emergency Operations Plan Development Guide for a template EOP.
Learn more about summer program safety with these resources:
- The CDC’s Keep Kids Safe This Summer and Summer Health & Safety Microsite
- BGCA’s Foundations to Summer Fun: Safety & Supervision webinar recording and powerpoint
- BGCA’s Summer Safety Field Trip webinar recording and Field Trip Protocols from Redwoods Insurance
- Reach out to BGCA’s Child Safety & Quality Assurance Team to schedule a consultation to discuss summer safety at your Club