Safeguarding children and young people involved in sport and out of school activities

Supporting your child to get involved in clubs and sports can help them develop skills, make new friends and build self-confidence. But it's important to know that the people running the activity take your child's safety as seriously as you do.

So before your child starts joining in, here are some things to find out.

Is there a child protection / safeguarding policy?

Every organisation should know how children will be kept safe. If there isn't a written policy then you may want to think about whether you want your child to join.

Who do you speak to if you're worried about anything? 

It's important you know who to talk to if there's anything that's worrying you. All clubs and activities should have a child protection lead / safeguarding lead or welfare officer.

Is there a written code of conduct for coaches and volunteers?

You want to know that the people who will be in charge of your child have a set of rules and requirements they have to follow.

What happens when your child has to travel to ‘away’ events?

Sometimes your child might have to go on trips with the club. They should have a policy that covers things like the recommended ratio of adults to children and how travel will be arranged between locations.

Are all staff trained, qualified and police checked to work with young people? 

The club should be able to confirm all the necessary checks have been completed.

How are health and safety issues handled? 

For example, is there always a trained first aider on hand and are all the fire exits marked and easy to open?

What's the policy if a child needs personal care?

If anyone from the club ever has to do anything that a parent would normally do, like taking a young child to the toilet or administering medicine, it's important that they have guidelines that have to be followed.

You can find further useful information about good practice from the NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit.

Most clubs and activity centres will have all these safeguards in place. If you aren't sure they do, ask to see the policies for yourself. After all, nothing's more important than having the peace of mind that your child is in safe hands.

If you feel that an activity, event, club or organisation places children (under 18 years of age) at risk of harm in any way you should contact your local authority children services department and let them know what you are worried about. Never doubt yourself if you have worries and concerns, it is always better to speak to someone than regret you didn’t later!