It’s not a gym. It’s a family. What family is complete without kids? Even those without children of their own enjoy the energy that comes from having the little guys bopping around the box. Entertaining and training smaller humans is so rewarding and wonderful for your community. There’s just a few things you need to consider to keep the smaller ones (and yourself) safe.
CALL YOUR AGENT
Better policies will have protection built in for the little ones, but some do not, so call your agent to talk about coverage. Many policies require trainers to have a background check. Even if a trainer has 3 kids named Fran and a 3-minute Fran, you still need to check out their past. Prove to your community that you care by properly screening the people caring for their children.
Any kid that walks into your gym for any reason should sign a waiver. Especially if they are taking class, but even if they are not. While you are talking to Mom and Dad and little Johnny jumps on the rings, you won’t have to mentally panic when he starts skinning the cat. Protecting yourself does not make you a bad guy. If Johnny drops that skinned cat on his head and suffers a concussion, you’ll be the one getting skinned.
Barbells bounce and have even been known to snap. Kids need separate spaces and coaches. It’s great to have kids and adults classes going on in tandem for convenience sake, but there needs to be a divide. Safety is the ultimate priority and kids can easily get mowed over. Save the mowing for the lawn and divide the room in TWO.
A great divide should also be in place for day care or “kiddie corners.” These areas are fun for kids and super convenient for parents, but they must be apart from the action to keep the kids safe.
It’s never a good idea for Mom to park a stroller in the middle of a box so her baby can “watch” her CrossFit. Even if the child stays still, there’s too much potential for harm. It’s best to have a safe, separate and SUPERVISED area for the children to be.
If there’s an official day care in your box, the kids are obviously supervised by a responsible adult who has had a background check. Be sure to have a sign in and out sheet to ensure the right Johnny goes home with the right Mommy. Many policies require this, so even if your babysitter knows all the kids, sign them in and out.
Many boxes have kid friendly corners where Moms or coaches trade off babysitting duties. This can work, but strict guidelines must be in place. Children must be supervised at all times. When a well behaved child with an iPad gets an idea to get off the couch and run through the box, things could get dangerous in a hurry.
Often times Mom and Dad take back to back classes and switch kids in between. It’s a great plan, as long as the kids don’t start swinging kettlebells while the parents are chatting. Most accidents happen when it’s least expected, and these short switches will be safe if children remain supervised. This is another scenario when a waiver is of the utmost importance.
Coaches should have a certification to train children in order to run a kid’s class. It doesn’t matter how good a personality is, without a credentials to train children, trainers just aren’t qualified. A kid’s course can be banged out in two days and will provide knowledge and important guidelines that you just don’t get with an adult certification.
BOO BOOs HAPPEN
If any child gets hurt, the first call is for medical attention if needed. The second call is to the parent. When talking to Mom and Dad, be very mindful to never admit negligence or fault. A well-equipped first-aid kit can fix the minor injuries and make a child feel well cared for. Even if it all ends well, the next call is to your agent. It’s good to discuss the situation, even before it becomes one
Don’t be afraid to invite the kids in your box. Do your homework and protect yourself, and they will be a welcomed addition to your family.