Summer is here, and many churches are planning an annual Vacation Bible School (VBS). While you're busy planning your program and activities, be sure to set some time aside to plan for safety.
Brotherhood Mutual Insurance Company features a page on its website devoted to Vacation Bible School safety. The online resource, Vacation Bible School Safety Precautions, is a helpful starting point for planning a safe and fun VBS experience for everyone involved.
The resource recommends developing plans for:
- Screening: All staff and volunteers should be properly screened and trained for the tasks they are doing. Everyone should know what to do in case of an emergency.
- Staff-to-child ratios: At least two adults should staff each area, and properly screened teenagers should always work alongside properly screened adults.
- Visibility: All classrooms need windows and doors and should allow for a clear view of activities inside. An adult should check a restroom before a child enters it (to ensure it is empty) and then wait outside while it is in use.
- Security: Make sure every child is properly registered and keep a listing of children’s names, allergies, their parent or guardian contact information and who is authorized to pick the child up. You will need a plan to ensure that no child goes home with an unauthorized adult.
- Snack Safety: When it comes to serving snacks, safety should come first. Things to think about include:
- Age appropriateness of snacks
- Proper food storage and preparation
- Hand-washing and sanitization
- Food allergies
Other Questions to Ask When Preparing for VBS
- Are there potential hazards in the facility such as broken stairs, exposed outlets or cords?
- Are toys and games age appropriate?
- Is equipment in safe and clean condition?
- Are crafts and craft materials safe, non-toxic and properly supervised?
- Are church grounds and playground equipment free from hazards?
- Are games appropriately supervised?
- Are children wearing proper sun protection?
- Do you have a well supplied first aid kit?
- Do you have a plan and a designated volunteer to deal with injuries, illnesses, allergies, medications, etc.?
To Learn More
For some additional advice about first aid, visit this page, also available on the Brotherhood Mutual Insurance website. Has your congregation planned for safety when preparing for your VBS?
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