Holiday parades, with their crowds and bright floats, are a tradition for many families. Not only are parades festive and exciting, they are often a holiday highlight for children. However, with their crowds and distractions, parades can also mean injuries to minors and children. Here’s how to stay safe while having a wonderful time:
1) Supervise children near vendors and refreshment stands. Hot elements and hot drinks can mean burn injuries for small hands. Supervise children around vendors and refreshment stands to ensure that your children do not touch any hot surfaces. If you buy treats or hot drinks, make sure that they are slightly cooled down before giving them to your children. If you have smaller children, bring spill-proof containers and transfer hot drinks into them so that they cannot spill hot drinks on themselves. Or, bring your own beverages – at the right temperatures – in a thermos.
2) Do not let your child wander too close to the floats or entertainers. Items may accidentally drop from floats or entertainers with costumes may not notice your child and bump into them. Look for a high spot, where you can watch the parade in safety.
3) Hold your child’s hand at all times. This prevents your child from wandering away. If you have a small child, keep in mind that others may not notice your child and may inadvertently bump into him or her. Carry small children and look for areas that are not as crowded.
4) Teach small children how to find a police man in case they become separated from you. Have a plan in case you get separated from your group. Older children can be taught to meet you at a pre-selected place. Younger children can be taught your cell phone number and how to find a police officer in the crowd.
5) Make sure your child washes their hands before eating and after returning home from the parade. Crowds may have ill people in them and smaller children may end up touching items on the crowd. This season, with concerns about the H1N1 flu, it is a good idea to encourage children to wash hands frequently. Bring a small packet of hand sanitizer so that you can wash hands before eating parade treats.
6) If you have a child participating in the parade, discuss safety with them and with parade organizers. Make sure that any float your child is on has some sort or barrier or safety devices. Encourage organizers to put safety first and go over safety procedures. If your child is marching, ensure that he or she is not in a costume that hampers movement or visibility.