Friday, March 16, 2012

Staying Lucky – And Safe! – at Outdoor Parades and Festivals

By Joanna Jordan, American Red Cross volunteer

St. Patrick’s Day is a big event in Dallas, with one of the largest parades in the country taking place in the middle of the city. We’re lucky to have such a spirited display of Irish pride and green shirts and faces. And you can stay lucky (and safe!) at your city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade or any other outdoor event by following a few health and safety tips.

1. Have a separation plan. If you’re going to an outdoor event with kids, make sure you talk about where to go and what to do if you get separated. Determine a meeting place that’s easy for kids to find.

2. Leave pets at home. Unless the event is advertised as pet friendly, you’ll want to leave your furry friends at home.

3. Dress appropriately. Wear a hat and sunscreen, and bring extra supplies if you’ll need to reapply. (Read your sunscreen bottle to determine when to reapply; every SPF is different!)

4. Bring water and snacks. You’ll want plenty of water, especially as temperatures heat up. Find out if the venue has water fountains where you can fill up your bottle. If you can’t fill up, you’ll want to bring more bottles. Snacks are a good idea, especially if you’re planning to be at the event for three hours or more or if you have kids with you.

5. Keep hand-held items to a minimum. One bag is plenty. The more you bring, the more you have a chance to lose.

6. Use caution when eating food cooked outdoors. Make sure your meat is fully cooked and any dairy is properly chilled.

7. Bring or wear insect repellent. If you’ll be spending your time at a park or other grassy area, you may need insect repellent. Spray it on before you go and as needed throughout the day.

8. Wash your hands after handling animals. If you’re at a petting zoo, or just a place where you’ve handled dogs or other animals, be sure to wash your hands before you eat. Hand sanitizer will work in place of soap and water if you’re in a pinch.

With just a little planning, you can stay safe (and lucky!) this St. Patrick’s Day and on into summer. Find out more about health and safety tips at

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