By Katie Cordy
It’s summer! A time to relax in the sun, splash in the pool, and slather on some sunscreen! However, summer can come with risks for the unprepared. It is important for both leaders, members, and volunteers to be able to recognize, and react correctly to, common mishaps that may occur. Being prepared and confident can help your troop or club increase the amount of absolute and utter fun you have this summer!
In this article, we will talk about how to combine two badges, Water Safety and First Aid, as well as provide helpful resources that you can use to complete and extend these badges.
While the Water Safety badge can help your members learn how to recognize and react to water-based accidents, it does not cover the mishaps that can transpire outside of the water. The First Aid badge educates on sunscreen, heat exhaustion, cuts, and burns, but does not teach how to recognize someone who is drowning or how the various methods to rescue a victim of an aquatic accident. Together, these two badges cover the most incidents that could occur while your troop or club is having fun in the sun!
Many goals of the First Aid and Water Safety badges overlap, such as, if someone is injured, how to call for help. First Aid Preschool Requirement #1 requires that a member know how to remain safe when helping an injured person. Water Safety Requirement #4 has members explain why it is important to use a reaching technique instead of risking themselves by swimming to a drowning person. Both of these requirements focus on how to make sure that there is only one person who needs help, instead of two.
First Aid Level 5 Requirement #2 has older members teach a skill from the First Aid badge to someone else. This includes other members of their troop or club. Water Safety Requirement #9 has older members educate younger members about water safety via games. In one day, the older members can practice their skills as well as their confidence by teaching younger members. This can even help the younger members complete requirements for both badges as well!
Water Safety Requirement #2 has members learn about pool rules. Members can then explain what consequences can occur from not following pool rules, and demonstrate how to help someone who has suffered from not following pool rules. For instance, running around a pool can lead to injury, such as a scratched knee. With First Aid Preschool Requirement #3, members can demonstrate how to treat a scratch properly. Running around a pool can also cause a person to slip and twist their ankle. First Aid Optional Requirement #4 has a member show how to use a bandanna to stabilize a twisted ankle until help arrives.
First Aid Optional Requirement #11 has members evaluate and treat an injury or illness that another member pretends to have. This demonstration of teamwork can also be seen in Water Safety Requirements #4-6 and #9. Work together and show that the best kind of fun is when everyone is watching out for their friends.
The point of learning safety badges, whether it be First Aid, Water Safety, or Fire Safety is not to make you, your members, or your volunteers paranoid or scared of accidents. Instead, they are designed to give you the peace of mind that if, on the unlikely chance, something would happen – to a member of your troop or club, or a complete stranger – that you all have the knowledge, confidence, and ability to act appropriately and quickly. Remember, If you see a need, take the lead!
If you and your members are planning on hopping on an aquatic vehicle, it may also be worth your time to complete the Boating Safety badge. If you are planning to camp or spend time in wilderness, earning the Outdoor Safety badge can help you make the most of your time away from civilization. Browse Discover Health and Safety for a full list of safety-oriented badges that are available!
Here is a list of resources you may be useful to help to complete and extend the First Aid and Water Safety badges.
National Safety Council:
This website covers more than just water safety, but their reminders on how to stay safe while swimming can extend Water Safety Requirement 2:
Safe Kids Worldwide:
Filled with resources, Safe Kids Worldwide has many kid-friendly resources for water safety, fire safety, and more. There are videos, checklists, infographics, and more. Many of their resources are in Spanish!
American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross has lesson plans for general water safety, home pool safety, sun safety, and rip tide safety, as well as handouts. Excellent for combining the First Aid and Water Safety badges and completing several requirements, as well as extending knowledge (such as the rip tide safety lesson).
British Red Cross:
The British Red Cross has easy-to-read articles and lesson plans on everything from heat exhaustion to basic first aid. Each lesson plan states what age group it is designed for, from five years old to adult.
First Aid for Life:
Although they offer online first aid classes, First Aid for Life also has downloadable Powerpoints for primary and secondary grades, as well as printable PDF handouts, activity sheets, and posters.