Here in New Orleans we love Carnival season. It can be a wonderful experience for families. At Ochsner Hospital for Children, our goal is to help families stay safe and healthy during Mardi Gras. It’s really about common sense and keeping alert so everyone has a good time.
Respect the boundaries
On the parade route, be sure you are respecting the boundaries. Please pay attention when the police are telling the crowds to stay behind the curb; there’s a reason. Kids like to get as close as possible to the floats, the bands and the marching clubs because they’re colorful and exciting but we don’t want to see any kids in the ER because they’ve tangled with a float or a trombone. If a band chaperone asks you to step back, make sure kids step back.
We are in the mist of cold and flu season, so be sure to wash everyone’s hands when you get home to prevent the spread of common illnesses. It also a great time to have an antiseptic wipes handy while you’re out on the parade routes for quick clean ups. This also helps prevent lead exposure from dirt and soil around the city when kids pick up throws from the ground.
Take a Photo
Be sure to take a picture of your children before heading out in case someone gets lost. We suggest establishing ground rules about staying close and setting a meeting place before you head out to the route. Just as you need a designated driver, you also need a designated adult who is going to be responsible for kids at all times.
Last, but certainly not least, you want to be careful with those ladders. Be sure to check your ladder for any repairs it might need before you head out to the parade route. Make sure it’s level and stable when you set it up, and not tangled with someone else’s. Children in the ladder should be well-secured with a sturdy bar across the front. And use common sense about the size of kids you allow into your ladder – a child who’s really too big can cause a ladder to tip over.
For more information, visit ochsner.org/forchildren.