If you own a home day care, taking your toddlers on a group field trip can be a great experience or a total disaster. In order to make your trip a positive experience for everyone, it is imperative for you to plan ahead. You want to ensure you provide safety first and limit your liabilities. There are several things you need to consider before the day of the trip to protect yourself and keep the little ones safe.
Do you have the right insurance?
Most home day care businesses never even consider purchasing insurance. If you are planning on leaving your home in a vehicle, you should highly consider additional business insurance. Your home insurance and car insurance may not cover you if you have an accident associated with running a business in your home, or transporting passengers in a vehicle for business purposes. Check with your insurance agent to see if you are covered on your existing policy. If not, you will need to be covered properly with a policy that will protect you from potential lawsuits. A lawsuit involving a child can be very expensive and could be life altering financial event for you and your family.
Did you get permission from the parents?
In addition to your insurance coverage, you will need to obtain a permission slip from each parent that authorizes you to transport their children. This will not only protect you from liability, it will inform the parents of their child’s whereabouts. You may think your parents trust you 100% with their child, but many parents get upset when they are not informed, especially when traveling with their child.
Is your vehicle reliable?
Using a reliable vehicle to transport your toddlers is extremely important. You wouldn’t want to get stuck somewhere with a flat tire and no spare. This would not only be embarrassing, but could present additional dangers if you had to sit on a busy highway or road with no shoulder and wait for parents to pick up their children. Consider a back up plan or alternate driver. If you know someone with a van or other appropriate vehicle, ask them in advance if they wouldn’t mind being an emergency back up should something go wrong with your vehicle. You may also want to take your vehicle into your local mechanic for oil change and tune up and ask them to inspect the vehicle for any potential problems.
Do you have enough safety seats?
Safety seats for every child is required by law and would be a major lawsuit if an accident occurred and you did not have every child properly restrained. You could even face multiple criminal charges or an extensive civil lawsuit if a child was injured. In addition, your insurance policy will probably require that each child be properly restrained for you to make any claims on personal injury. If you don’t have enough car seats, you can ask the parents to leave their child’s personal car seat and pick it up that evening when they pick up their child to go home. I like this idea better than having your own car seats for several reasons. The child’s car seat was chosen by the parent and typically will be adjusted by the parent to fit the child. By using the car seat provided by the parent, some of the responsibility is in the hands of the parent and not 100% on you.
By asking yourself these 4 simple questions before planning a field trip, you will be more prepared to react if something goes wrong. You will also feel more confident and worry less on the day of trip. With less time to worry, you can focus more on having fun.