Keeping Kids Safe at the Carnival: A Parent's Guide
During the summer and autumn, keeping kids safe at the carnival is a serious concern. Look, when the season and the weather are right, taking the little ones to the carnival is an absolute blast. The rides, the games, the cotton candy – it's a recipe for fun for the whole family!
That said, there is definitely reason to be wary. Over a 20-year period, a study by researchers in the Center for Injury Research and Policy found that there were more than 27,000 injuries to kids under 18 from rides at fairs and carnivals. These were serious enough to be treated in hospital emergency rooms. That’s about 1,350 injuries each year.
As fun as they can be, carnivals can also be dangerous for lots of reasons. Read on to learn more.
The Essentials for Keeping Kids Safe at the Carnival
Start with the Buddy System
Remember when your mom used to tell you to never to talk to strangers? While there have certainly been some developments in that advice, it is still a good framework. Make sure your kids know to stick with you or a trusted adult at all times. And if they're old enough, set up a buddy system with their friends or siblings so they can look out for each other.
Identification Tags and Backpack Cards
Most of the time, kids don’t carry ID cards. This one is simple but often overlooked. Put an identification tag on your child's clothing or backpack with their name, your phone number, and any relevant medical information. It might seem like overkill, but as always, safety comes first. And it's always better to be safe than sorry.
Set Meeting Points
Before you dive into the carnival chaos, pick a designated meeting spot in case you get separated. It could be a specific ride, a food stand, or even the entrance. Knowing where to reunite if separated can save you a lot of stress.
Keeping Kids Safe at the Carnival Means Staying Hydrated and Taking Breaks
Carnivals can be scorching hot, especially in the summer. Make sure your child stays hydrated by bringing water bottles to the carnival or buying drinks while there. Dehydration can lead to crankiness, discomfort or even heat stroke. Be sure to take frequent breaks to prevent exhaustion. Additionally, protect your child from the sun's harmful rays. It's easy to get caught up in the carnival fun and forget about sunburn. This means applying sunscreen and having them wear a hat.
If your child has food allergies, be extra vigilant about what they eat at the carnival. Ask food vendors about ingredients, and consider packing safe snacks from home.
Riding Safely Means Following the Rules
Pay close attention to height and age restrictions on rides. They exist for a reason! Don't let your child convince you to let them on a ride that they're not tall enough or old enough for. It's not worth the risk. Additionally, just like in the car, be sure to buckle up on any ride that has a belt! Check the restraints yourself, and don't be afraid to ask the ride operator for help if needed.
Some kids are more prone to motion sickness than others. Keep an eye out for signs of nausea, and if your child starts feeling unwell, let the ride operator know immediately.
Pack a First Aid Kit
Finally, pack a small first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers. It's a simple precaution that can come in handy when you least suspect it.
Enjoying the Ride… Safely!
So, there you have it – a few tips for keeping kids safe at the carnival. By staying vigilant, following safety guidelines, and trusting your gut, you can ensure your family has a fantastic time without worrying about their well-being. Make lasting memories together, one ride at a time!