Mardi Gras tips for parents & caregivers

Published 10:15 am Saturday, January 21, 2023

In Louisiana, we love Carnival season, and it can be a wonderful experience for families. Common sense and keeping alert are the keys to staying safe and healthy while having a good time along the parade route. Parents and caregivers can follow simple tips to ensure their family enjoys parading as safely as possible.

 

Respect the Boundaries: Be sure to respect the boundaries on the parade route. Please pay attention when the police tell 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.

Stay in the know: Keep track of parade schedules and timing by downloading a parade tracker app. These free apps will keep you updated in real time when parades are rolling and where they are on the route.

Wash Hands: We are in the midst 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 is also a great time to have 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 will be responsible for kids at all times.

Be Alert:  It’s important to be on the alert when parades are passing in case you need to block a throw that is too heavy for children to catch or that they won’t see coming. If your child is accidentally hit in the facial area or head with a bag of beads, this can cause head injuries including concussions, eye injuries and dental injuries.

Mardi Gras Throws: Mardi Gras beads are one of the most common and popular throws at parades. However, these strands of plastic or glass beads are not safe for very young children because they pose a choking and strangulation hazard.  A good rule to remember is that anything that fits inside a toilet paper tube or has small parts that if separated would fit inside a toilet paper tube, is a choking hazard. These are the types of Mardi Gras throws that children younger than three years old should not be allowed to play with it.

Ladder Safety:  Last, but certainly not least, you want to be careful with those ladders. Be sure to check your ladder for any repairs before heading 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 too big can cause a ladder to tip over.

 

 

Dr. Mirza Baig is a board-certified family medicine physician. He was born and raised in India where he completed his initial medical training and internship at Deccan College of Medical Sciences – Hyderabad, India. He then attended Louisiana State University – University Medical Center in Lafayette, Louisiana, where he completed a family medicine residency. Dr. Baig is a fellow of American Academy of Family Physicians. He provides primary medical care for patients ranging from adolescents to adults. Dr. Baig has been on staff at Ochsner Health since 2012.  To schedule an appointment with Dr. Baig at Ochsner Health Center- Kenner, 200 West Esplanade Ave, call 504-464-8506 or visit www.ochsner.org.