Reprinted by permission from Healthy Childcare, Healthy
Child Publications

Copyright/Access Information

Field trips can provide wonderful learning experiences for
children of all ages. In order to make the most of this experience,
it is important to keep safety as a top priority.

Before selecting a field trip site or event, teachers should
consider why they are taking children on a field trip. Is this
an activity that can only take place away from the center, such
as a visit to a children's theater? Or could this experience occur
just as well in the center? For example, if you want children
to see and touch animals, you can visit a petting zoo, or you
might ask a guest to bring baby goats, kittens, or puppies to
the classroom.

Safety concerns can arise when children get bored because the
event is too long for their attention span. Children also may
lose interest if they can't perform the activity, either because
it is developmentally inappropriate or because there are too many
children for the number of activities. When children get bored
– look out! They will find something else to do such as wandering
off or climbing the stair railings. When planning the field trip,
here are some points to consider:

The Site

Is this field trip appropriate for the age group? The age of
your children can affect your safety considerations. For example,
taking a group of 20 four-year-olds to a shopping mall to see
a clown might not be a good idea because there are too many places
for the children to “escape” and get out of your sight.
However, other sites might be much better suited for a field trip
such as visiting a fire station or dentist's office.

The Activities

Consider the developmental level of your children. Children
enjoy hands-on and interactive activities rather than watching
or listening to someone else. However, if it is hands-on, can
the children perform that particular activity?

Is the activity safe for children? Consider a visit to a petting
farm. This can be an enriching experience for children to see
and touch baby lambs, goats, and duckshowever, there are still
hazards. Some animals bite. A goose can give a mean pinch! Even
a baby lamb who wants to “suck” on little fingers can
hurt a small child. Some animals are too big for children.When
visiting a petting farm, plan extra adult supervision and be sure
children are separated from large animals and/or potentially dangerous


Transportation may occur by bus, van, or private vehicles driven
by parents. All children should be securely buckled into car seats
or booster seats approved for their age and weight. The safest
place for all infants and young children is the back seat of a
car. Older children should buckle the lap belt and shoulder belt.
Never double-buckle children in seat belts as each child should
have his or her own seat belt to provide the best possible protection.

Check out the loading and unloading area at the site. Children
should exit the vehicle and enter the area without crossing traffic
areas or parking lots.

Do head counts frequently. Count your children as you leave
the childcare center, once they are in the vehicle, as they exit
the vehicle, and when they get into the designated building or


Visit the site prior to the field trip. Look at the site from
a safety standpoint, such as potential falls, entrapments, choking/poisoning
hazards, etc. Remember, most field trip sites are not designed
to be “children proof.”

  • Plan adequate adult supervision, both during transportation
    and during the field trip activities.
  • Take a file containing parent authorizations, emergency contact
    information, and medical authorizations for each child.
  • Take a well-equipped first aid kit.
  • Notify someone at the field trip site of your expected departure
  • Have a two-way radio or cellular phone available in case
    of an emergency.

Basic hygiene on field trips

While on a field trip, basic hygiene such as hand washing is
important. One preschool classroom's trip to the zoo ended up
with many cases of an intestinal virus when the children touched
a railing that was part of a reptile exhibit and then ate their
lunches without washing their hands.

Field trips are fun and educational and with the proper health
and safety preparations, unnecessary problems can be avoided.

The Parent Connection

Field trips are an excellent opportunity to include parent
volunteers. If you need to increase the ratio of adults to children
on a field trip, invite parents or other center volunteers to
join the outing.


National Network for Child Care – NNCC. Part of CYFERNET, the
National Extension Service Children Youth and Family Educational
Research Network. Permission is granted to reproduce these materials
in whole or in part for educational purposes only (not for profit
beyond the cost of reproduction) provided that the author and
Network receive acknowledgment and this notice is included:

Reprinted with permission from the National Network for Child
Care – NNCC. Safety and field trips. Harbor Springs, MD: Healthy
Child Publications.

Any additions or changes to these materials must be preapproved
by Healthy Child Publications.

Healthy Child Publications
P.O. Box 624, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

Fax: 616-526-0428
Phone: 616-526-6342

FORMAT AVAILABLE:: Available only on the
ENTRY DATE:: August 2000


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