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How to Protect Your Class Outdoors

March 13, 2018
Arizona Early Childhood Network

As an early childhood professional, it is of utmost importance to make sure your students are safe. So, if you make the decision to take learning outside then you’ll want to be prepared for any potential situations that could be harmful to your students.  

Here is a quick safety list for situations that may arise by taking the classroom outdoors:

Poisoning

Poisoning is much more common with children ranging in ages from 1-4 years due to their curiosity about everything they see and touch. Toddlers are often inclined to put anything they can reach into their mouths. Keep this in mind when taking the students outside as they may be at risk for putting plants or objects from the yard or sandbox into their mouths. If you see a child ingest something and are not sure what it was, you may need to call poison control. Keep this number on you at all times. Poison control - (800) 222-1222.

Burns

If you are going to take the children outside for a duration longer than a few minutes, it is very important to be thoughtful of the sun since younger children are much more susceptible to sunburns. Keep a high SPF and child-safe sunscreen in the classroom should your lesson plan fluctuate, and you find your class outside for the day. If your day outside is planned in advance, you’ll want to have parents send children in with hats or umbrellas to provide extra shade and protection from the sun.

Falls

Since children develop at different stages you could have a few kids in your class that are walking pros or you may have some toddlers that are still wobbly with their daily steps. Even if your class seems to be rather steady in their footsteps, there are many different textures outside that can be difficult for young children to navigate. Beware of high playground equipment; stairs to the courtyards, cracks in the sidewalks or anything that may cause lose footing for the younger children. In case of a fall, examine the child from head to toe in an effort to assess where the child was hurt. Falls happen in the blink of an eye and are very common, both indoors and outdoors.

Choking

As with poisoning, choking can be a possible danger when going outside. Before allowing the children to play outside, make sure to remove any potential choking hazards. If a child is choking, send another student for help and immediately phone 911. It’s also important to be certified in CPR so that you may apply any resuscitation techniques before emergency responders arrive. 

Additional Resources:

Basic Tips to Keep Children in Child Care Safe Outdoors

Make Summer Safe for Kids

What You Can Do

The importance of outdoor play for young children's healthy development
 

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