Tailgating with toddlers

Tips for safety on game day from Ochsner

Special to the Herald-Guide
September 16, 2010 at 10:12 am  | Mobile Reader | Pring this storyPrint 

Football season is here and with it the day-long tailgate parties and game day celebrations. Many in south Louisiana make these events a family affair to include children of all ages. Ochsner pediatrician Patricia Granier, MD offers the following advice on keeping your little fans safe this season.

Because tailgating often takes place in the heat of the day, it is important to protect children from too much sun exposure. 

“Sun can cause permanent damage to children’s delicate skin and increase their risk for skin cancer later in life,” says Granier. 

When children are outdoors for any activity, including tailgating, follow these tips:

Apply at least an SPF 15-30 sunscreen with broad spectrum UVA and UVB coverage to kids six months and older  throughout the day.  Begin applying 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply as your child sweats.

Set a good example for kids to follow by remembering to apply sunscreen to yourself as well.

Set up your child’s play area under a tent or in the shade.
Dress children in comfortable clothing (don’t forget your team hat!).

Granier advises parents to keep their children hydrated by bringing plenty of water. 

“Children can be easily susceptible to the heat, so be sure to keep them well-hydrated at all times, and avoid sugary or carbonated beverages,” she says. 

In addition, bring child-friendly snacks and foods that can be enjoyed throughout the day without the risk of spoiling and follow all food safety guidelines for serving food outdoors. 

Because alcohol is often present at tailgate parties, take care not to have alcoholic drinks in reach of small children.  Most importantly, says Granier, make sure there is a designated, sober adult supervising children at all times.  When an adult is not specifically designated, there is the assumption that someone else is watching them. 

With game day festivities drawing thousands it only takes a second for children to become lost in a crowd.  Parents should plan in advance to designate a common meeting place in case a child does become lost.  Parents should also remember what their child is wearing so they can pick them out among other fans.  When navigating game day traffic on foot, parents are advised to keep children close and make sure children know the rules for safely crossing streets.  And since most stadiums have large, steep stairs, parents should allow plenty of time to enter so that children do not feel rushed or crowded on the stairs.

“Taking a few extra minutes in advance to make sure your child’s tailgating experience is a safe and healthy one will ensure that a great time is had by the entire family,” Granier says.

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