University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program
University of California
University of California 4-H Youth Development Program

Chapter 11: Health and Safety

Policy Homepage | Forms & Support Documents

I. General Principles

A. Purpose

The University of California (UC) and the California 4-H Youth Development Program (4-H YDP) is committed to achieving excellence in providing a healthy and safe program and working environment, and to support environmentally sound practices in the conduct of UC activities. It is UC policy to comply with all applicable health, safety, and environmental protection laws, regulations and requirements.

  1. To meet this standard of excellence, UC implements management initiatives and best practices to systematically integrate health, safety, and environmental considerations and sustainable use of natural resources into all activities.
  2. All 4-H YDP activities are to be conducted in a manner that ensures the protection of members, adult volunteers, 4-H YDP staff, visitors, the public, property, and the environment.

B. Goal

  1. The 4-H YDP goal is to prevent all 4-H YDP injuries and illnesses, environmental incidents, and property losses or damage.
  2. Achieving this goal is the responsibility of every member, adult volunteer and 4-H YDP staff. To achieve this goal, the 4-H Safety Manual and 4-H Clover Safe Notes have been developed. Additional UC ANR environmental, health and safety resources can be found at ANR EH&S Home Page and ANR EH&S 4-H Resources.

II. Role of 4-H YDP Staff

A. Responsibilities

4-H YDP staff are responsible for:

  1. Informing adult volunteers and members of the procedures for reporting safety concerns and hazards.
  2. Interpreting UC policies regarding health and safety.
  3. Keeping themselves and the adult volunteers apprised of the changes in guidelines and policies.
  4. Incorporating safety into projects they develop or oversee such as activities, events, and camps.

B. Resources

  1. The 4-H Safety Manual and 4-H Clover Safe Notes are useful resources for this purpose.
  2. The UC ANR Environmental Health & Safety and Risk Services Offices can provide other resources and training materials.

III. Role of Adult Volunteers

A. Member Safety

Adult volunteers are responsible for the safety of members during all meetings and activities. Adult volunteers must incorporate safety awareness in project meetings and demonstrate safe practices when showing members how to carry out their project work. Adult volunteers must also be prepared for emergencies. See Clover Safe #13, Emergency Preparation and Response Guideline.

B. Project Safety

Adult volunteers need to be familiar with activities, procedures, and processes associated with the project they are supervising. Adult volunteers must be capable of identifying those project risks that pose the potential for causing accidents, injuries, or disease exposures. See Clover Safe #14, Preventing 4-H Member Injuries and Illnesses.

C. Safety Training

Safety training should be incorporated into educational instruction/curriculum associated with all 4-H YDP activities and may be accomplished through verbal instruction, instructor demonstrations, review of written or electronic materials, and/or viewing commercially prepared video recordings. In certain instances, members may not be allowed to participate in an activity or utilize equipment or tools until they have demonstrated their understanding of associated hazards and procedures or achieved a necessary level of proficiency. Adult volunteers should document safety training of members either through written curriculum or using a Safety Meeting Training Record .

D. Risk Assessment

If an unacceptable risk or hazard becomes evident while an activity is taking place, adult volunteers must promptly modify the activity, establish controls to reduce the risk to an acceptable level, and/or correct the hazard. If the unacceptable risk or hazard continues to exist, the adult volunteer must discontinue the activity and, if necessary, evacuate the members from the affected area.

IV. Youth Protection

A. Introduction

  1. UC and the 4-H YDP are committed to proactively protecting members from child abuse and/or neglect and ensuring their safety while participating in 4-H YDP activities.
  2. In order to help 4-H YDP staff and adult volunteers recognize and report child abuse, the Abuse Risk Management for Volunteers training have been developed.
  3. These following policies are designed primarily to protect members; however, they also serve to protect adult volunteers and 4-H YDP staff from false accusations of abuse.
  4. The following sections, B, C and D, do not apply to interactions between members and their parents/guardians.

B. Preventing Private Interactions - A Cornerstone of Youth Protection 

The protection of members is of utmost importance in the 4-H YDP. Research has shown that the single most effective way to prevent child abuse in a youth program such as 4-H is to prevent private, one-on-one interactions. Preventing one-on-one interactions between members, as well as between members and adult participants (volunteer and other adults), is a cornerstone of the 4-H youth protection strategy.

C. Interaction with Members During 4-H Activities

4-H YDP staff, adult volunteers, adult participants and members will adhere to the following requirements during all 4-H activities.

  1. There will be two (2) appointed adult volunteers present with members during all 4-H activities. "Appointed adult volunteer" means an individual that has completed the 4-H Adult Volunteer Appointment or Re-Appointment process (see Ch. 6, Volunteer Appointment and Re-Appointment Confirmation). 
  2. There may be occasions when having two (2) appointed adult volunteers present is not possible due to emergencies, an illness or other unforeseeable circumstances; in these situations there should be one (1) appointed adult volunteer and another adult participant or 4-H YDP staff member, one of which must be at least 21 years of age.
    a. This option is only used when previously identified adult volunteer is unable to participate.
  3. This applies to all 4-H programming. There are some exceptions for programming taking place virtually.
    *Exception: when adults are present, 2 adults required: 1 must be an appointed 4-H Adult Volunteer and 1 may be a Certified 4-H Adult Helper in breakout spaces. See Virtual Toolbox for 4-H Adult Helper Certification process. 
  4. In general, no one-on-one interactions may occur in private, whether between members, or between adult volunteers and members. If personal discussions are necessary, they should be conducted in an area that is in view of other adult volunteers and members.

D. Interaction with Members Outside of 4-H Activities

  1. 4-H adult volunteers should diligently avoid private, one-on-one contact with members outside of 4-H activities, with the following exemptions.
    1. One-on-one interaction approved by the member's parent/guardian.
    2. One-on-one interaction necessary in exceptional circumstances (e.g., to drive a member to the hospital emergency room, or similar).
  2. UC cannot monitor and enforce this policy outside of 4-H events, UC is not responsible to do so and UC does not promise to do so. However, all adult volunteers should be made aware that, subject to the above exemptions, 4-H policy prohibits them from having private one-on-one interactions with members, at any time, both during 4-H activities and outside of 4-H activities. Volunteers who fail to abide by this policy may be dismissed and barred from the 4-H YDP.

E. Romantic Relationships

  1. Between Adult Volunteers and Members
    1. It is inappropriate to the role of a 4-H adult volunteer for them to engage in a romantic relationship with a member at any time. Any adult volunteer engaging in a romantic relationship (including but not limited to dating) with a member has violated this University policy and the 4-H YDP  4-H Adult Volunteer Code of Conduct - English . Any violation of this policy will result in the immediate dismissal of the adult volunteer.
    2. UC cannot monitor and enforce this policy outside of 4-H activities, UC is not responsible to do so and UC does not promise to do so. However, all adult volunteers should be made aware that 4-H policy prohibits them from engaging in a romantic relationship with a member, at any time, both during 4-H activities and outside of 4-H activities. Any violation of this policy will result in the immediate dismissal of the volunteer.

  2. Between Members

All romantic relationships between members are the responsibility of the youth and of their parents/guardians. However, if such a relationship is apparent to 4-H staff and/or to adult volunteers, these adults should pay particular attention to enforcing the above-described policy prohibiting private, one-on-one interactions between members during 4-H activities.

F. Supervision Ratios

As a best practice, all 4-H program events, activities and meetings should have a youth to adult ratio of at least 10:1 for senior members; 8:1 for junior and intermediate members; 6:1 primary members.

G. Supervision in Vehicles

  1. Adults should not be alone in vehicles with members.
  2. Adult volunteers should not be one-on-one in a vehicle with members other than their own child.
  3. Adult volunteers must have current Member Treatment Authorization and Health History Form - English and Health History Form from parents/guardians before transporting members in any vehicle to any 4-H YDP activity or event.

H. Supervision and Late Parents

  1. The member is the responsibility of the adult volunteers or 4-H YDP staff member in charge of the meeting or event until a parent/guardian or responsible adult designated by the parent/guardian arrives.
  2. The member must not be left unsupervised, transported (except by law enforcement officials) or released to anyone not specifically authorized by the parent/guardian.
  3. If parents/guardians are late or do not arrive within half an hour of the scheduled ending time, and cannot be contacted, it will be necessary for the adult volunteer or 4-H YDP staff person in charge to contact local law enforcement officials.

I. Separate Sleeping Facilities for Each Gender

Only adult volunteers of the same gender as the member may supervise members in the sleeping and restroom areas of an event. No single member is permitted to sleep in the room of an adult volunteer other than their own parent/guardian. An unrelated member and adult volunteer must never share a bed.

J. Restrooms 

It is strongly recommended that separate shower and bathroom facilities be provided for mixed-gender groups. When separate facilities are not available, separate times for male and female use should be scheduled and posted.

K. Respect for an Individual’s Privacy

Adult volunteers must respect the privacy of members in situations such as changing clothes and should intrude only to the extent that health and safety require. Adult volunteers must protect their own privacy in similar situations.

L. Youth Leader Training and Supervision

Youth leaders should be trained as to what constitutes appropriate interaction during 4-H YDP events and activities. 4–H YDP staff and/or adult volunteers must monitor and guide the leadership techniques used by junior and teen leaders.

M. Constructive Discipline

Corporal punishment is never permitted in the 4-H YDP. Positive techniques of guidance, including redirection, positive reinforcement, and encouragement rather than competition, comparison, and criticism must be used. 4-H YDP staff, adult volunteers, and junior/teen leaders will maintain age-appropriate behavior expectations and set-up guidelines and environments that minimize the need for discipline.

V. Volunteer Training and Awareness of Child Abuse & Neglect Reporting Procedures 

UC policy states that it is necessary and appropriate to provide training to advise volunteers on the subject and identification of child abuse and neglect and of their duty to report suspected abuse.

A. Training Resources

New 4-H Adult Volunteers must take the online Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect training, along with additional required online trainings, as part of the 4-H Adult Volunteer Appointment process. 4-H Adult Volunteers will take the training as a condition of their first year of appointment. Should there be a break in service to the 4-H YDP, the 4-H Adult Volunteer will be required to retake the training in accordance with the requirements of the New 4-H Adult Volunteer process. No 4-H Adult Volunteer is permitted to serve the 4-H YDP without successful completion of this training.  


VI. Reporting of Child Abuse 

A. 4-H YDP Adult Volunteer Reporters

In accordance with University of California CANRA policy, 4-H Adult Volunteers are expected to report any suspected child abuse or neglect they have knowledge of. 

B. Reporting Requirements

4-H Adult Volunteers who suspect child abuse or neglect must report their concerns to UC staff. However, any citizen may make an anonymous report directly to the sheriff or child protective services. The University of California has full expectation that every 4-H Adult Volunteer is aware and fully understands the requirements of reporting include reporting the volunteer's concerns to UC ANR or directly to law enforcement or CPS with a notification to UC ANR. When a 4-H Adult Volunteer reporter notifies UC of suspected child abuse, UC must follow the process of reporting under CANRA. 

  1. Reporting to UC Staff (preferred method)
    a. Staff will review the information and determine if the facts meet the criteria under CANRA. If UC staff must make a verbal report to any of the following: local law enforcement, child protective services or county welfare departments. No later than 36 hours after the verbal report, the reporter must fill out form SS 8572, and fax to the agency receiving the verbal report. 

    b. Staff must then notify the University of California through the University Compliance hotline, 1-800-403-4744, or This process is done anonymously.

  2. Reporting to the UC Whistleblower Hotline
    a. The reporter can report anonymously directly to the UC Whistleblower hotline. The reporter must provide enough detail in order to follow-up with the youth member.
    b. Although reporting directly to a UC staff member is the preferred method, any citizen can make an anonymous report of child abuse and/or neglect to the local sheriff or child protective services.  

C. Failure to Make a Report

If the University of California finds that a 4-H Adult Volunteer had knowledge of suspected child abuse or neglect and failed to make a report, the 4-H Adult Volunteer's appointment will be terminated. 

F. Immunity

Any 4-H Adult Volunteer who reports a known or suspected instance of child abuse shall not incur civil or criminal liability as a result or any report, unless it can be proven that a false report was made and the person knew that the report was false or was made with reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the report. Any such person who makes a report of child abuse known to be false or with reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of the report is liable for any damages caused. CANRA provides immunity from liability and other protections to all reporters of abuse and neglect. See, Section III, C.

VII. Search of Personal Property 

A. Scope of Search

If a search of personal property is to be conducted of an adult volunteer or member there should be a direct connection between the problematic behavior and the search, and the search should be reasonable in scope given its objective (i.e., looking in backpack and shoes as opposed to more intrusive measures).

B. Conditions of Search

Searches must be witnessed by a second individual, requiring that they be conducted under one of the following four conditions:

  1. Two (2) adult volunteers, or
  2. Two (2) 4-H YDP staff members, or
  3. One (1) adult volunteer and one (1) 4-H YDP staff member, or
  4. One (1) adult volunteer and one other adult, if one of the above three conditions is not feasible.

C. Conditions of Search

If a search of the person is necessary, the adult volunteer and/or 4-H YDP staff member should make this request verbally. For example, the adult volunteer and/or 4-H YDP staff member might say, “Please empty the contents of your pockets onto the table.” If the individual refuses, the adult volunteer and/or 4-H YDP staff should avoid making direct physical contact. If this should occur in a situation in which safety is a concern, the adult volunteer and/or 4-H YDP staff member should contact the local law enforcement for further action.

D. Documentation of Search

Searches must be documented by means of the Insurance Incident Report Form . Copies of the completed Incident Report should be distributed to 4-H YDP staff. Staff will forward the report to the 4-H statewide office, the county office, and the ANR Office of Risk Services.

VIII. Emergency Medical Treatment 

A. Medical Treatment Forms

Members and adult volunteers are required annually to complete medical treatment forms at the time of enrollment. See the Member Treatment Authorization and Health History Form - English . These forms are also available in Spanish language ( Member Treatment Authorization and Health History Form - Spanish ). 

B. HIPAA Requirements

Emergency Medical Treatment Forms & the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

  1. The HIPAA Privacy Rule creates national standards to protect individuals’ medical records and other personal health information.
  2. 4-H YDP is not bound by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for the following reasons:
    1. 4-H YDP is not a health insurance provider;
    2. 4-H YDP does not provide health services for a fee; and
    3. 4-H YDP does not act as a clearing house for health programs, insurers, or programs.

C. Sharing of Medical Information

  1. The law does, however, have important implications for how medical information is shared within the 4-H YDP including camps. The information recorded on the Member Treatment Authorization and Health History Form - English should be considered as “Protected Health Information.”
  2. 4-H YDP staff and adult volunteers should make all reasonable efforts to see that:
    1. Only authorized individuals have access to health, medication, and related information.
    2. The Member Treatment Authorization and Health History Form - English and related health information are securely filed to prevent casual access.
    3. Training is provided to adult volunteers (including camp personnel and chaperones) regarding the importance and process of protecting and respecting the privacy of privileged and sensitive health information.

D. Steps for Handling 4-H YDP Treatment Authorization and Health History Forms

4-H YDP staff should ensure that the following steps are used in handling 4-H YDP treatment authorization forms and health history information. 

  1. Signed copies of the California 4-H YDP treatment authorization forms must be kept in a file or notebook which can be accessed only by 4-H YDP staff and adult volunteers.
  2. Copies may be made and distributed to club and project adult volunteers and chaperones for emergency purposes. Club leaders, project adult volunteers and chaperones are required to keep 4-H YDP treatment authorization forms in a notebook or folder to reduce risk of information being distributed. The notebook or folder should be available at all 4-H YDP events.
  3. For traveling, copies should be provided to adult volunteers for emergency purposes preferably in a notebook or envelope to reduce risk of information being distributed.
  4. During camp, 4-H YDP staff and adult volunteers may provide camp counselors with the general medical needs of campers (i.e. camper needs to visit nurse before bed rather than listing camper’s name with specific medications.)
  5. Chronic medical needs such as diabetes, asthma, or hemophilia should be made known to the adult volunteer coordinator, camp counselor, chaperone, etc.

IX. Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco

The following policy applies when youth, adult volunteers, parents/guardians and participants are participating in the 4-H YDP and while performing 4-H YDP duties at non-4-H events.

A. Participation in 4-H Activities and Non 4-H Events

  1. Adult volunteers shall not consume or be under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs or tobacco while performing their 4-H YDP duties.
  2. Adult volunteers shall not be impaired by legal drugs while performing their 4-H YDP duties.
  3. Adult volunteers and 4-H YDP staff will not allow alcohol, illegal drugs or tobacco use.
  4. The use of alcohol, illegal drugs, smoking and the use of smokeless tobacco products, e-cigarettes and unregulated nicotine products is prohibited.

B. Non 4-HYDP Events and Alcohol

  1. On some occasions adult volunteers or members may attend non 4-H events at which alcohol is served. In that situation the following policies are to be followed:
    1. There must be adequate assigned supervision of appointed adult volunteers on hand at the event (at least 2 adults for every 8 youth). Adequate assigned supervision is defined as certified adult volunteers age 21 or older. The assigned adult volunteers shall not consume alcoholic beverages while supervising members.
    2. Members shall not handle, or in any way come in contact with alcoholic beverages.
    3. Members shall be supervised while in the vicinity or area in which alcohol is present, whether as a participant, attendee, or server.
    4. Members shall remain out of the area when the activity is completed.
    5. The assigned adult volunteers shall accept the responsibility of supervising members who could potentially come into contact with alcoholic beverages.
    6. Adult volunteers shall be responsible for clearing the tables and/or service of all alcoholic beverages.
    7. It is the responsibility of the 4-H YDP staff to ensure that the assigned adult volunteers understand this policy. Adherence to the policy shall be required at any function where alcoholic beverages are served and 4-H YDP members are in attendance.

C. Violations

Members and adult volunteers violating this policy may be asked to refrain from use of the substance and/or to leave the activity, event or function. The county director may impose additional disciplinary action. See the Member Code of Conduct - English , the 4-H Adult Volunteer Code of Conduct - English , the Parent-Guardian-Adult Participant Code of Conduct - English and the No Use of Alcohol Drugs or Tobacco in the 4-H YDP FAQ .

X. Foods and Beverages 

A. Serving of Food

As set forth in the Food Safety Program Letter of October 22, 2007, the service of safe food should be a priority for all UC events. Any activity where food is served (potlucks, luncheon meetings, etc.) has the risk for food borne illness.

  1. Training
    4-H YDP staff should work with UCCE nutrition, family and consumer science advisors to plan and conduct annual training for adult volunteers and 4-H YDP staff involved with food service activities. Refer to local, county, and state requirements for mandatory training. The Food Safety Education website, Food Safety Brochure and Food Safety Brochure Spanish Version are available for trainings.
  2. Compliance with Laws and Regulations
    If a 4-H YDP group plans to serve food as part of an official 4-H YDP activity, the food preparation and service must be in compliance with all local (city and county) health department rules and state laws. In addition, it is imperative that all county based rules and regulations governing food service activities be observed, including securing appropriate permits.
  3. Consequences of Non-Compliance
    If a 4-H YDP group is serving or selling food and not in compliance with health regulations, UC will not endorse or assume liability for such functions. Supervising adult volunteers or other adults become personally liable for their actions, should legal claims of negligence arise from the food at the event or activity.
  4. Product Liability
    UC provides product liability insurance for 4-H YDP fundraising events. Product liability insurance should be requested on the Certificate of Insurance through the ANR Office of Risk Services. Include a request for foods coverage in the Products and Completed Operations Aggregate space under Type of Coverage by writing Products in the amount of insurance requested section on the form.
  5. Prepackaged Foods
    When 4-H YDP programs use or sell prepackaged foods, the manufacturer assumes the legal responsibility for the product.

B. Drinking Water

  1. Drinkable water, without anything added, must be available at all 4-H meetings, activities and events. See Drinking Water FAQ .
  2. 4-H fundraisers that include the sale of beverages must include water as an option.

XI. Integrating Safety into the 4-H YDP Curricula 

The 4-H Safety Manual and 4-H Clover Safe Notes have been developed to assist 4-H YDP staff and adult volunteers in ensuring that safety information is included in project meetings and planning for events and activities. In addition to these safety training resources, the ANR Environmental Health & Safety Office can provide assistance to assess 4-H YDP activities to identify safety hazards and develop specific safety training information. All curricula should be reviewed to ensure that safety information and guidelines are included.

XII. Tools, Equipment, and Machinery 

Many 4-H YDP projects involve various types of tools, equipment, and machinery that involve potential injury risks and hazards. Adult volunteers should assess the potential injury risks and hazards that are associated with the members’ project. Once the risks and hazards have been assessed, the adult volunteer should provide suitable member safety training and/or controls to reduce or eliminate the potential for injuries or illness. Use the Safety Meeting Training Record (or similar form) to document your discussion of the use of personal protective equipment and other equipment, tools, machinery, and/or materials used as part of the project.

XIII. All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs)

A. Restrictions for Youth Under 18 Years of Age.

Whenever all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) are used in a 4-H YDP activity (including projects, fairs, etc.) on California public lands, members under the age of 18 may operate an ATV only if they:

  1. Are taking a prescribed safety training course under the direction of a certified all-terrain vehicle instructor;
  2. Are under the direct supervision of an adult volunteer that has been appointed in California;
  3. Have a safety certificate issued by California or another state (CVC Section 38503).

See Clover Safe #5, All-Terrain Vehicle Safety for more information

B. Restrictions For Youth Under 14 Years of Age

ATV member operators under the age of 14 shall not drive on California public lands unless they satisfy one of the three conditions set forth above for operators under the age 18 years and are accompanied by or under the direct supervision of a parent/guardian or an adult authorized by a parent/guardian (CVC 38504).

C. Helmets

ATV operators (both members and adult volunteers) are required to wear approved helmets (CVC Section 38505) and as a good safety practice, should always wear eye protection.

D. Passengers

Passengers are not allowed on ATVs (CVC Section 38506).

XIV. Tractors

A. Farm Tractors 

Farm tractors (20 horsepower or more) shall not be operated by 4-H members less than 17 years old.

B. Lawn Tractors

  1. 4-H members under 17 years old may operate lawn tractors (less than 20 horsepower) as part of a 4-H YDP project or Lawn Tractor skills contest activities, provided that safe operating principles are made an integral part of the curriculum or contest.
  2. Any members violating safety rules or not passing safety tests may not be allowed to operate a lawn tractor.
  3. During a skills contest, the lawn tractor(s) shall be equipped with an automatic shut-off switch that will turn off the motor and stop the tractor when the operator leaves the seat. Additionally, the mower or any other powered implements will have any blades removed or be otherwise disabled.

XV. Motor Propelled Vehicle Restrictions Summary Table

California 4-H YDP Motor Propelled Vehicle Restrictions on Public Lands

Type of Vehicle

Regulation or 4-H Policy

Minimum Age

Safety Equipment

Other Issues

Farm Tractor (More than 20 Horsepower)

4-H Policy

17 years

Hat, Shirt, Shoes, Pants

No Passengers

Lawn Tractor (Less than 20 HorsepoweR)

4-H Policy

12 YEARS: 

Hat, Shirt, Shoes, Pants

No Passengers


California Vehicle Code, 38503, 38504

Under 18: Supervised or Safety Certificate
Under 14: Supervised

Helmet, Eye Protection, Shirt, Shoes, Pants, Gloves

No Passengers

Motorized Dirt Bike

California Vehicle Code, 12804.9


4-H Policy

16 years: License, On Road, Complete Basic Motorcycle Rider Safety Course

12 Years: Off Road,
Complete Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) Dirt Bike School or adult volunteer project leader must be a qualified dirt bike instructor and make safety an integral part of the 4-H project curriculum.


Helmet, Eye Protection, Shirt, Shoes, Pants, Chest Protector, Knee Guards, Kidney Belt, Gloves



No Passengers

Dune Buggy

California Vehicle Code, 12804.9

18 years: Drivers License

Helmet, Eye Protection, Shirt, Shoes, Pants.



4-H Policy

16 years

Helmet, Eye Protection, Boots, Cold Weather Clothing 
(i.e. Snowmobile Suit)

No Passengers




XVI. Bicycle Helmets 

A. State Law

California law requires any person under 18 years of age to wear a properly fitted and fastened bicycle helmet when operating or riding as a passenger on a bicycle. The law applies whether the bike is ridden on the street, a bikeway, or a public bicycle path or trail.

B. 4-H YDP Requirements

4-H YDP policy requires that youth wear bike helmets when riding during 4-H YDP activities and events.

C. Helmet Standards

Bicycle helmets must meet the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the Snell Memorial Foundations Standards for Protective Headgear for Use in Bicycling. These labels must be conspicuously displayed. It is the responsibility of the rider or the rider’s parent/guardian to see to it that the headgear worn complies with such approval standards, carries the proper seals, and is properly fitted and in good condition. See Clover Safe #41, California Bicycling Requirements and #42, Bicycling Safety.

XVII. Equestrian Helmets 

A. 4-H YDP Requirements

All members and adult volunteers, regardless of riding seat, shall wear a properly fitted equestrian helmet which meets ASTM/SEI standards (information about the importance of ASTM/SEI standards can be found at with secured chin harness properly fastened at all times when mounted on a horse or in a vehicle being pulled by one or more horses as part of any 4-H YDP equestrian activity.

B. Recommendations

It is recommended that a helmet be worn at all times when handling any horse (i.e., grooming, clipping, lunging, showmanship class, and other ground work in a group setting).

C. Parent and Guardian Responsibility 

It is the responsibility of the rider or the rider’s parent/guardian to see to it that the headgear worn complies with such approval standards and carries the proper seals, and is properly fitted and in good condition. 4-H YDP staff and adult volunteers are not responsible for checking headgear for compliance. UC makes no representation or warranty, expressed or implied, about such headgear and cautions riders that serious injury may result despite wearing headgear, as no helmet can protect against all unforeseeable injuries in equestrian sports.

D. Compliance 

At any time during a 4-H YDP equestrian activity, the adult volunteers (e.g., horse show manager, clinic organizer, club volunteer) may check a participant's equestrian helmet for proper standards. Members or adult volunteers found to be wearing an unapproved or defective helmet will not be permitted to participate in any mounted or driving activity until a proper helmet is acquired.

XVIII. Skiing and Snowboarding Helmets 

A. 4-H YDP Requirements

Youth members or guest participants shall wear helmets during any 4-H YDP skiing and snowboarding activities and events.

B. Helmet Standards

Snow sports helmets must meet accepted standards such as ASTM F2040, Snell RS-98, or other appropriate certifying agency. It is the responsibility of the participant or the participant’s parent/guardian to ensure that the headgear worn complies with such manufacturing standards, carries the proper seals, and is properly fitted and in good condition.

XIX. Meeting Place Safety

Prior to holding a meeting, it is a prudent and recommended practice to evaluate the configuration, accommodations, limitations, and hazards of the space. Once these aspects of the meeting space have been evaluated, then guidelines, instructions, or other information can be developed or provided to safely manage the meeting and space, as appropriate. 4-H YDP staff and adult volunteers in charge should know what to do in case of an accident. Emergency phone numbers should be available. The location of the nearest phone should be known. The location of fire extinguishers and fire alarms should be noted. See Clover Safe #15, Holding and Attending 4-H Meetings in Private Residences and Clover Safe #28, Meeting Space Safety Checklists.

XX. Petting Zoos and Interactive Displays 

A. Introduction

Increasingly, 4-H YDP groups are involved in providing community opportunities to enjoy and learn about small animals. Extensive guidelines can be found at ANR EH&S - Petting Zoos - 4-H Resources.

B. Reducing Risks

Petting zoos or similar interactive animal displays can be fun and educational activities for members and the general public. However, there is a risk of illness or injury during contact with animals. These risks can be reduced or eliminated by implementing several measures, including managing the human-animal interactive experience, providing hand washing facilities, and informing visitors about safe conduct with animals.

C. Requirements

The following must be followed when a 4-HYDP unit wishes to host a petting zoo:

  1. Petting zoos must only feature small (i.e., animals weighing 100 pounds or less), miniature, or young animals. Full grown cows, horses, hogs or other large animals pose a greater risk of injury to petting zoo visitors and may not be featured in 4-H YDP sponsored petting zoos.
  2. Petting zoo animals shall be screened to eliminate those that exhibit aggressiveness, signs of illness, or other types of poor behavior.
  3. Newborn animals are not appropriate for petting zoos and shall not be featured.
  4. Petting zoo pen and enclosure areas shall be effectively managed and supervised to provide environments that are safe and healthy for both visitors and animals and their interactions.
  5. In addition to any state or local regulations or fair policies, groups operating petting zoos shall follow the recommendations of the most current version of the Compendium of Measures to Prevent Disease Associated with Animals in Public Settings, published by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV).

XXI. Pesticide Use

Members under the age of 18 are prohibited from using pesticides as part of 4-H activities.

XXII. Transportation 

A. Notification

4-H YDP staff members are responsible for notifying adult volunteers that they must comply with vehicular laws and regulations. This can be accomplished through adult volunteer appointment letters, newsletters, orientation meetings, and workshops.

B. Field Trip and Out of County Transportation

  1. Adult volunteers who are transporting members in personal or commercial vehicles to any 4-H YDP activity or event including club field trips and activities, and county, regional or state activities must have a current Member Treatment Authorization and Health History Form - English .
  2. Adult volunteers who are transporting members on field trips or long distances to official functions should carry:
    1. A first aid kit,
    2. Member Treatment Authorization and Health History Form - English ,
    3. Emergency accessories such as reflectors, fire extinguishers, and
    4. Other supplies, such as shovels and blankets, necessary for adverse weather conditions.

C. Riding in Back of Pickup Trucks 

California law prohibits riding in the back of a pickup or flatbed motor truck, except in a parade or similar event where the street(s) is closed to normal traffic

D. Passenger Vans

In accordance with recommendations from the National Highway Traffic Safety Board that cite an increased risk of roll-over accidents, 15-passenger vans, regardless of back row seat being removed, shall not be used to transport youth members, volunteers, or staff as part of any 4-H activity.

E. Youth Drivers

Members are not authorized to drive on behalf of 4-H YDP and shall not transport other members to and from any 4-H YDP function.

XXIII. Water Safety

A. Introduction

Many 4-H YDP projects or events involve activities that occur in, on, or near water. 4-H YDP staff and adult volunteers are responsible for the safety of members and therefore, must proactively identify, evaluate, and reduce any potential water hazard risks associated with an activity. See 4-H Water Safety Guidelines.

B. Reducing Water Hazards

Reducing water hazard risks encompasses the following types of actions:

  1. Informing members of water hazards and safety concerns.
  2. Requiring the use of personal protective equipment such as personal flotation devices when appropriate (such as boating or swimming in rivers).
  3. Obtaining the services of a certified river rafting guide for whitewater or swift water rafting trips.
  4. Assuring an appropriately certified lifeguard is present for swimming or other activities where water contact is expected such as surfing.
    1. “Appropriately certified lifeguard” means someone who has completed a lifeguard training program sanctioned by a group such as the American Red Cross or American Lifeguard Association.
    2. It can be assumed that lifeguards provided at public pools or beaches are appropriately certified.
    3. Lifeguards should be certified at the appropriate level for the type of water body they are supervising. For example, deep (more than 4 feet deep) or shallow water (4 feet deep or less) swimming pool lifeguard certification, ocean certification for ocean lifeguards, or waterfront certification for lake and river lifeguards.
    4. The designated lifeguard’s role is to supervise the activity and s/he must not engage in other distracting activities (such as reading or using a telephone).
    5. A minimum of one lifeguard shall be present for any 4-H swimming or activity where water contact is expected. Additional lifeguards shall be present, in the ratio of one for every 25 4-H swimming participants, at any 4-H managed swimming venues such as those at 4-H camps or a private pool or beach. Lifeguards at public pools and beaches are provided at sufficient ratios.
  5. Verifying members have received training from an experienced instructor about water craft and recreational activities and associated equipment such as surfing, water skiing, and scuba diving.
  6. Restricting member access to certain water hazards.
  7. Closely monitoring members when they are near water.
  8. Identifying supervising adults in addition to lifeguards and assigning them tasks and timeframes to assist in the monitoring of members. The recommended chaperone ratio is two (2) supervising adult volunteers for up to ten (10) youth swimmers and an additional adult supervisor for each additional five (5) youth swimmers. See following table.
    Youth Swimmers Adult Supervisors Certified Lifeguards
    1-10 2 1
    11-15 3 1
    16-20 4 1
    21-25 5 1
    26+ 1 additional supervisor for each 5 swimmers 1 additional lifeguard for each 25 swimmers
  9. 4-H members are prohibited from operating motor boats and personal water craft (i.e. jet ski) as part of 4-H activities.

XXIV. Challenge/Ropes Course

When conducting challenge or ropes courses as part of a 4-H YDP activity the following are required:

A. Installation and Operations

Installation and operation of challenge or ropes courses shall adhere to the standards established by the Professional Ropes Course Association (PRCA) 

B. Helmets

Approved helmets must be worn by all participants involved in or around high challenge/ropes course elements when participating on a course that is above the participant’s height. An “approved helmet” is one that meets the standards of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation (UIAA).

C. Harnesses

Climbing harnesses shall be used on all high course elements.

D. Facilitators

Facilitators who lead challenge/ropes course must have demonstrated training and experience in operating courses with youth participants that meet accepted safety standards from organizations such as PRCA, ACCT, or others.

XXV. Animal Health and Safety Policies 

A. Introduction

Through non-formal educational experiences project members shall use 4-H animal science projects as a means to learn responsibility for the care and treatment of their animals. 4-H does not condone the mistreatment of animals; 4-H expects that all animals will be cared for and treated in a responsible manner. Through learning experiences, project members shall learn and use safe and accepted practices when handling and caring for their animals.

  1. Food Animal Species:

    4-H supports management practices for the proper care and treatment of food animals as developed through research and industry-tested practices outlined in resources such as the University of California, Cooperative Extension’s Animal Care Series and the Federation of Animal Science Societies’ Guide for the Care and Use of Agricultural Animals in Agricultural Research and Teaching. Based on the information put forth in these and other resources, species-specific guidelines will be developed.
  2. Companion Animal Species:

    4-H supports management practices for the proper care and treatment of companion animals as developed through research and industry-tested practices outlined in resources such as the American Veterinary Medical Association’s (AVMA) Animal Welfare Principles and the California Veterinary Medical Association’s (CVMA) Eight Principles of Animal Care and Use.

B. Purpose

  1. Each 4-H YDP animal project shall include learning experiences appropriate to the species of animal, to ensure that members understand and practice the standards of proper care and treatment of animals.
  2. Educational materials shall be reviewed on a regular basis by a committee appointed through the state 4-H office to ensure that the content reflects current accepted animal care and handling practices.

C. Competition with Animals

  1. Fairs, shows, exhibitions and similar events involving 4-H YDP members and their animals shall be conducted according to UC accepted animal care standards. Special attention is needed for transportation, safe housing, adequate feed and water, ample space, proper handling, facility design, and proper management and showmanship.
  2. Events such as greased pig contests, calf scramble contests, or other events for entertainment, in which youth randomly capture animals from a group or compete against animals, are not acceptable and will not be planned, supported, or approved for 4-H YDP member participation.

D. Liability Insurance and Animal Ownership

UC does not provide liability coverage for injury or damage caused by animals. 4-H YDP staff should refer individuals or families desiring this type of insurance to their insurance agents. Insurance agents can also advise the policyholder about coverage that may already be provided through their existing tenant or homeowner insurance policy.

XXVI. Trailers

A. Approval

County and regional directors must approve the purchase of any trailers for use in the 4-H YDP. If approved, trailers procured shall be registered to the Regents of the University of California. Such trailers shall be obtained for educational purposes only.

B. Insurance Requirements

If 4-H adult volunteers handle or tow UC owned trailers, the adult volunteer should be informed that in the event of an accident during the performance of their duties as a 4-H adult volunteer, their personal automotive insurance would be primary, with UC covering damages beyond the limits of the policy of the volunteer. See also  General Liability and Automobile Insurance FAQ

C. Safe Towing

All individuals operating UC-owned trailers (both UC employees as well as UCCE volunteers) should have previous experience at towing a trailer and should follow safety procedures as outlined in Safety Note # 90, Driving Safely While Towing a Trailer.

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