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Thread: Would you have informed the parents?

  1. #1
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    Would you have informed the parents?

    Just back from an awesome Cub Camp.

    We an interesting incident that I am still trying to decide whether we did the right thing in deciding not to notify the parents. I wonder what other people would have done.

    We sent a group of 40 Cubs into the woods for a bit of free time. We also sent a few adults and YLs to keep an eye on things.

    2 mins later there is screaming and the Cubs start to emerge from the woods covered in wasps. I have never seen anything quite like it. Waps in their hair, in the clothes, over their faces ...

    Anyway the upshot was that we had 13 Cubs with multiple wasp stings. Having done the usual first aid stuff we made the decision to load them into the minibus and take them to A&E to get them checked out. This decision was made by the camp first aider who is a nurse and I am in no doubt this was the right call. If we had one child develop anaphylaxis we could have coped, but if we had 2 or 3 we would have been in serious trouble.

    A&E were great and fast tracked the Cubs through and gave them all a clean bill of health and issued us an industrial quantity of Piriton.

    Everyone return to camp and all was well.

    I informed the DC as soon as the decision was made to take them to A&E.

    I then agonised over whether or not to call the parents. Normally when a child is considered bad enough to take them to A&E I would call the parents immediately to give them the chance to meet us at the hospital. But this time I was convinced that none of the Cubs would need any treatment and the trip was just precautionary.

    I made the decision not to call the parents. This was based on a number of factors:

    1. there was nothing that the parents could have done with the information. By the time they had driven from home to the hospital would we already be back at the campsite.
    2. tracking down and talking to 13 set of parents would have taken a long time for little value. (I had a home contact that could have done the leg work - but I did not feel like ruining his afternoon of work on his extension).

    I spoke to every parent at the end of camp. Only one parent has expressed disappointment that I did not call them at the time. They claim that the schools would always call in such circumstances and we should do the same.

    So did I make the right call or should have I made those calls?

  2. #2
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    Perhaps contacting the parents once you were back on camp to say this is what happen, their child is fine and had been checked out by medical staff and given the all clear. As you were dealing with the incident at the time contacting them at the time wasn't practical until you were sure of the outcome. It would have made work for your home contact but if the Cubs had contacted their parents before the end of camp (Mum, I got stung lots and had to go to hospital) you could have had irate parents after you.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Shaun's Avatar
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    I would have had the parents contacted. Yes the home contact would have been inconvenienced but that is the downside of being HC.

    The reasons you give for taking them are the reasons for calling. If one had gone into shock ...

    Do you now need to complete 13 sets of insurance forms as you have had YP treated at Hospital?


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    Definitely contact the parents - no question
    Do you now need to complete 13 sets of insurance forms as you have had YP treated at Hospital?
    I would believe that would be the case, get in touch with the info centre, also make sure that the DC/GSL ( and other leaders) are all kept informed

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    No- I agree with your actions. They are in your care at that time to make the appropriate decision as you see fit. No where in our rules or policy for an incident are informing the parents mentioned, you correctly informed the DC (and I presume you'll follow up by informing Gilwell? Bad luck doing that 13 times!).

    Parents would just worry, moan or add stress, that only needs to happen if and when there was actually something to be worried about!
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  6. #6
    Keith at 2M Keith at 2M's Avatar
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    Sorry. As a parent I would have wanted to know.

    As a leader I would probably have rung from the hospital. You did the right thing taking them in and could not be expected to contact them beforehand. Maybe involve the HC, but you were best placed to provide an update
    The Roman Empire did not become great by holding meetings. It did so by killing everyone that opposed their point of view.

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    I think I’m with Big George on this one – I think I would have called once back from hospital.

    Calling earlier would mean that a second call would be necessary to inform parents of outcome as I suspect not many would be totally able to relax with “we’ll call again only if there’s a problem”.

    But hindsight and time to chew things over is a luxury not available on camp and you know your parents – if only 1 from 13 was unhappy, that means 12 were fine with how you handled the situation.

    Shaun is right – inconveniencing the HC is a red herring, they’ve volunteered (or had their arm twisted) to be inconvenienced.
    Kate, CSL (and GDB(S))
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  8. #8
    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    I would have waited until you got back to camp and then get the home contact to get in touch with the parents to explain what happened and that they are all fine and back at camp.
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  9. #9
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    I would have called the parents via the home contact once it was sorted out (or earlier if there had been any serious problems).

    I think that Yellow Beaver makes a very good point saying "hindsight and time to chew things over is a luxury not available on camp." Sometimes you need to make a decision on the spur of the moment. It's all a bit too easy sitting at home in front of my computer having a think about it.

    I think the main point is that the situation was handled well and all the young people were OK.

  10. #10
    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    I would have used the home contact to contact the 13 parents but would have made sure that they were very clear with the parents that the A&E visit was precautionary and it was fully expected all the kids would be fine and back in camp in short order and no parent should try and come to the hospital unless contacted again. Far better to keep ahead of the game and keep parents informed of what is going on than potentially having a parent contact you saying x child has texted them saying they have got stung loads and they are in/ have been taken to hospital and asking what the hell has gone on.

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    Please note all views expressed are my own and not those of any organisation I'm associated with

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  12. #11
    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    One of the benefits of having all parents on the FB Group - anything like this happens and they all know.

    Personally, I think you did nothing wrong.

    If this had happened when we were in Alsace, I would not have called parents, I would have dealt with the issue and posted a notice that all were okay. What good can be gained from panicking parents who can't do anything, and who if they do turn up, invariably make matters worse. Had there been a serious incident, a case of anaphalaxys, then for sure, call the parent, but nothing but a few wasp stings, and no reaction, calling the parents is nothing more than a courtesy. When half ours went down with the Lurgi, parents got a running commentary, tinted with an element of humour. No complaints, quite a few jokes at our expense. No problem.
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  13. #12
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    I think after the drama of an A&E visit had finished, I would've emailed parents (seriously, 13 cubs at A&E - who'd have time to phone parents?) In the email, I would have provided details and that everyone was fine, but if they wanted to call, then they could.

    I take the view, unless there is actual injury then contacting the parent can usually wait. But, each situation would need to be taken on it's own merit.

    Would folks have contacted parents if one or two cubs got stung by wasps?

  14. #13
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    Tricky one.

    It's an unusual situation, because the way you say it, you wouldn't have gone to A&E for any single Cub. It was the fact that you had 13 Cubs, each with a relatively small risk of an adverse reaction, which added up to a larger risk. So, I think you made a reasonable assessment, that no child was actually badly injured so there was no need to inform the parents at the time.

    Having said that, I think I would probably have sent an email or text message later on that day. But it depends a bit on when it was, how easily it would have been to email/text from your campsite, and how long until you next saw the parents.

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by hippysurfer View Post
    Just back from an awesome Cub Camp.

    We an interesting incident that I am still trying to decide whether we did the right thing in deciding not to notify the parents. I wonder what other people would have done.

    We sent a group of 40 Cubs into the woods for a bit of free time. We also sent a few adults and YLs to keep an eye on things.

    2 mins later there is screaming and the Cubs start to emerge from the woods covered in wasps. I have never seen anything quite like it. Waps in their hair, in the clothes, over their faces ...

    Anyway the upshot was that we had 13 Cubs with multiple wasp stings. Having done the usual first aid stuff we made the decision to load them into the minibus and take them to A&E to get them checked out. This decision was made by the camp first aider who is a nurse and I am in no doubt this was the right call. If we had one child develop anaphylaxis we could have coped, but if we had 2 or 3 we would have been in serious trouble.

    A&E were great and fast tracked the Cubs through and gave them all a clean bill of health and issued us an industrial quantity of Piriton.

    Everyone return to camp and all was well.

    I informed the DC as soon as the decision was made to take them to A&E.

    I then agonised over whether or not to call the parents. Normally when a child is considered bad enough to take them to A&E I would call the parents immediately to give them the chance to meet us at the hospital. But this time I was convinced that none of the Cubs would need any treatment and the trip was just precautionary.

    I made the decision not to call the parents. This was based on a number of factors:

    1. there was nothing that the parents could have done with the information. By the time they had driven from home to the hospital would we already be back at the campsite.
    2. tracking down and talking to 13 set of parents would have taken a long time for little value. (I had a home contact that could have done the leg work - but I did not feel like ruining his afternoon of work on his extension).

    I spoke to every parent at the end of camp. Only one parent has expressed disappointment that I did not call them at the time. They claim that the schools would always call in such circumstances and we should do the same.

    So did I make the right call or should have I made those calls?

    Personally I think that if you took them to hospital, then you should have informed the parents if only to let them know what had happened and there was no issue. Rather than them finding out at the end of the camp.

    Hope you have got the accident forms completed as you only have a short time to do so.

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by daveb123 View Post
    Hope you have got the accident forms completed as you only have a short time to do so.
    You're meant to contact Gilwell at the first opportunity after the incident (the next business day is sensible) but you have ages to complete the actual form. They only chase after a month or so.

    Not sure I'd have bothered telling the DC, I'd just tell him at the same time as telling Gilwell. It's not like he would have any action to take during the camp.

    As for telling parents, I probably would have done by e-mail with a request to contact us if they wanted to discuss after the treatment was sorted.

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