General Health and Safety FAQs

Age-Appropriate Guidelines

A. No. They may participate in archery and use size appropriate sling shots. Cub Scout Shooting Sports page is available at this link. Age appropriate guidelines are here.

A. Zip-lining is considered age-appropriate for Venturing-age youth and older Boy Scouts. If the youth are participating in a commercial zip-line activity that is not located on a BSA-owned property, then we suggest you make sure that organization follows the Association for Challenge Course Technology (ACCT) standards for installation, maintenance, and operation. Use of privately installed, maintained, or operated zip lines by any unit, district, or council is not authorized. (Examples of these include self-built, backyard, or non-BSA-owned zip lines.)
Additional guidance can be found here.

A. Please refer to the SAFE Project Tool Use guidelines for answers to this question. 

Animals on Campouts

A. No, animals or pets are not part of tours or activities in Scouting. This does not preclude merit badge programs where specific animals are part of the merit badge (Horsemanship, Mammal Study, Reptile and Amphibian Study, etc.). The preface to the Guide to Safe Scouting states that, “In situations not specifically covered in this guide, activity planners should evaluate the risk or potential risk of harm, and respond with action plans based on common sense, community standards, the Boy Scout motto, and safety policies and practices commonly prescribed for the activity by experienced providers and practitioners.”

Aquatics Safety

A. Adult leaders supervising a swimming activity must have completed Safe Swim Defense training within the previous two years. Adult leaders supervising activities afloat must also have completed Safety Afloat training within the previous two years. CPR training is advised.

A. Cub Scout adventures include limited activities that can be conducted at a unit level. Please review the appropriate Cub Scout handbook, also the Age-Appropriate Guidelines for Scouting Activities and Safety Afloat, both found in the Guide to Safe Scouting.


A. Online-only courses are not accepted. The BSA will accept nationally recognized blended courses—such as from the American Heart Association, American Red Cross, Emergency Care and Safety Institute—where competency can be demonstrated to an instructor.

A. Yes, there is an agreement between the Boy Scouts of America and the American Red Cross. You can view the American Red Cross and Boy Scouts of America Training Agreement for more details. In addition, the BSA has an agreement with the Emergency Care and Safety Institute (ECSI).


A. Please review the Insurance section of the Guide to Safe Scouting.

A. Wearing a uniform is not required to be covered by BSA insurance. The requirement is that the youth and adults be engaged in an official Scouting activity. Scouting units, volunteer Scouters, and chartered organizations are covered by the BSA’s comprehensive general liability insurance. While your automobile insurance is primary, the BSA’s comprehensive general liability insurance provides secondary or excess insurance.

Lightning Safety

A. Yes, there is an online training course offered through the MyScouting page called Weather Hazards. This course will provide training on all types of weather situations including lightning safety. You can also review the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website.

Parades and Floats

A. Yes, Scouts can participate in hayrides or parades but with certain provisions. Scouts cannot be transported to or from the event in the trailer or the truck. You can review additional provisions in the Parade Floats and Hayrides section of the Guide to Safe Scouting.

Power Tools and Heights

A. Yes, there are restrictions that have been put into place on the height at which a Scout can be working. SAFE Project Tool Use addresses this policy.


A. Rockets may be used in the Scouting program. Rocket Academies have traditionally been a one-day event for communities and neighborhoods. They are a good way to show the broad spectrum of activities and learning associated with Scouting, and can educate participants and attendees about the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program. has published several articles about Rocket Academies.

Safety is always a paramount consideration, and the BSA wishes to re-emphasize the following as unit, district, and council rocket activities are considered.

  • Review and be familiar with the National Association of Rocketry safety code, which can be found at
  • Determine if there are any local rules and regulations regarding the type, size, and launching of rockets within your community.
  • Be aware of and guided by the SAFE.

Service Projects

A. Please refer to the SAFE Service Project Planning Checklist. This document is a tool to help in planning service projects as well as Eagle Scout projects.

Sheath Knives

A. The Boy Scout HandbookBear Handbook, and Webelos Handbook contain the program for the safe and responsible use of knives. The BSA believes choosing the right equipment for the job at hand is the best answer to the question of what specific knife should be used. We are aware that many councils or camps may have limits on the type or style of knife that should be used. The BSA neither encourages nor bans fixed-blade knives nor do we set a limit on blade length. Additional information is found in the Guide to Safe Scouting.

Training Courses

A. Below is a shortened listing:

  • Youth Protection—every two years
  • Safe Swim Defense—every two years
  • Paddle Craft Safety—every three years
  • BSA Lifeguard—every three years
  • Climbing Lead Instructor—every two years
  • Climbing Instructor—every two years
  • COPE/Climbing Inspector—every two years
  • Safety Afloat—every two years
  • Hazardous Weather—every two years
  • Climb On Safely—every two years
  • Trek Safely—every two years


A. According to the Transportation section of the Guide to Safe Scouting, driving time is limited to a maximum of 10 hours per day with frequent stops for rest, food, and recreation. All state and local laws should be followed at all times.

A. According to the Transportation section of the Guide to Safe Scouting, drivers should refrain from using cell phones (including hands-free units) and text-messaging devices while driving.

Trips and Outings

A. The Camping section of the Guide to Safe Scouting states:

“If a well-meaning leader brings along a child who does not meet these age guidelines, disservice is done to the unit because of distractions often caused by younger children. A disservice is also done to the child, who is not trained to participate in such an activity and who, as a nonmember of the group, may be ignored by the older campers.”

A. WFA training is required by the National Camp Standards for council high-adventure and backcountry camps, backcountry COPE and climbing, and by our national high-adventure bases. There are no unit-centric requirements, only program requirements.

Unauthorized and Restricted Activities

A. No.  Laser tag is prohibited.   Please review additional information located in the Prohibited Activities section of the Guide to Safe Scouting.

A. No. Shooting or throwing objects at each other is prohibited. This activity is not now, nor planned, to be part of any program or activity of the Boy Scouts of America.

A. Scouts cannot participate in the demonstrations, but they may observe a demonstration.  Scouts may participate in tai chi following SAFE.  

A. There is no known trampoline park program so we recommend that an outing be planned using the SAFE. Be sure to have qualified supervision and adults who will know what a safe area at such a park is and get individual parents to sign any required waivers or risk acknowledgment on behalf of their children. You may want to contact your local council’s Enterprise Risk Management committee for additional guidance.