Do’s and Don’ts - A Summary for Volunteers Working with Children

Firstly, you are NOT responsible for children or vulnerable adults attending this event. The ultimate responsibility lies with the parent, carer or support worker and there must be clearly visible signs around the activity informing participants of this. Alternatively the Activity Leader must make participants aware of their responsibly during their induction/ briefing.

However, you will be dealing with children and vulnerable adults and it is important that you follow some simple guidelines:

  • Volunteers should have read and understood IWA’s Child and Vulnerable Adult Protection Policy.

  • Volunteers should never assume sole responsibility for children and/or vulnerable adult at any time.

  • Always work in an open environment, avoiding one to one contact with children and/or vulnerable adult.

  • Always plan activities that involve more than one other person being present, or at least within sight and hearing of others.

  • Maintain a safe and appropriate distance with children and/or vulnerable adult – volunteers should avoid physical contact of any kind with a child and/or vulnerable adult unless it is an emergency or the parent has given permission i.e. assisting an individual onto the back counter of a working narrow boat to view the cabin.

  • Treat all young people and/or vulnerable adult equally, with respect and dignity regardless of age, gender, race or ability.

  • Volunteers should act as good role models. They should not use any inappropriate language, smoke or drink alcohol in the presence of children and/or vulnerable adult.

  • Volunteers should be careful about taking photos of any IWA activities involving children and/or vulnerable adults. It is best practice to gain verbal consent from the participant and, if under 18, their parent/carer before taking any photos. Volunteers should also make the individual aware of the possible locations where these photos may be featured or published.  Where photos may be used for the purpose of publicising the Association (for example in papers/ on the website) written permission from the parent/guardian should be sought before publishing the images. Individual children should not be identified in the accompanying text.

  • Volunteers should keep a written record of any injury or incident that occurs with a child and/or vulnerable adult, along with details of any action taken, or treatment required. Volunteers should secure parental consent before administering emergency first aid or other medical treatment.

  • Volunteers should be aware of where the first aid point is and any first aid kits that are available.