By: Rebecca Michelsen, M.Ed., MCHES, Manager of Community Outreach & Family Programs
Ahhhh festival season! Time to enjoy rides, a variety of tasty food choices, live music and so much more. Attending festivals with the family is a great way to get out and enjoy the sunshine with your child. It’s important to also think about safety though when in crowds with your kids.
Check out these safety tips when enjoying festivals with your family:
- Make an ID bracelet. This can actually be a fun project for you and your child to work on together. This bracelet can be made with beads, duct tape or purchased online. Festivals also sometimes provide ID bracelets that you can fill out with your contact information. Make sure to put your child’s name and your phone number on the inside of the bracelet so that the person helping your child can reach you directly. Make sure to always carry a charged cellphone for this purpose.
- Point out safety personnel to your child. Show your child who he can go to if he is lost or needs help. Police officers, festival workers and other safety personnel are all good options. For example, if all festival workers are wearing a red shirt with the festival logo, point out the people wearing these shirts.
- Show your child where the missing child tent is This might also be called a “reconnection center” or something similar. Most large festivals will have some type of gathering space or tent like this. Tell your child to find someone to take him to this area if he becomes separated from the family. You will then know the exact location to meet him.
- Clothing – Dress your child in bright colors! This helps your child stand out in a crowd.
- Take a photo of your child right when you enter the grounds so that if he does become lost, you have a photo of what he looks like that day to show people searching for him.
- Dress your child appropriately. Don’t allow little ones to wear uncomfortable shoes or sandals because you’ll most likely be doing a lot of walking throughout the festival grounds.
- Stay hydrated. Pack or purchase water bottles for the whole family. Children and adults can easily get distracted by the excitement of the festival and unknowingly become dehydrated.
- Make sure you pay attention to your child’s cues. If he seems like he needs a break, take one! Find a spot off to the side and have a snack before going back out into the fun.
In addition to these tips, it’s important to choose festivals that engage the whole family. Is there a special kids’ day or activity station your little ones will enjoy? It can also be helpful to set ground rules before you enter the front gates. Rules such as “one treat per child” or “everyone gets a chance to choose an activity” help set realistic expectations ahead of time.
What festival safety tips can you share?