Canada Day in Victoria, BC, gives families multiple events around the city to choose from. Last year, we joined the celebrations downtown and today we’re planning to catch the festivities at the Gorge Park. Of course, holidays and celebrations mean huge crowds, which makes me want a leash for each of my girls.
Here are some times for keeping children safe at crowded events this summer.
1. Dress brightly.
Both the girls have bright yellow bonnets which helps make it easier to spot them at a park or in a crowd. I also try to put them in bright, matching shirts in case the hats come off. Looking for two little girls in pink is easier than trying to find one wearing blue and one wearing red.
2. Write your cell phone number on their hand or arm.
If the child gets lost, someone who finds them can call you (if you have a cell phone) and tell you where they are. Older children can also memorize mom or dad’s cell phone number.
3. Take a picture.
Since you’re taking the camera or phone anyway (right?), take a picture of each child before you start the day. If they do get lost, you have an up-to-date picture of them in what they are wearing that day to show people who can help find them.
4. Hold hands.
When we are downtown or in a busy venue, we are very strict that our girls must be holding either Mommy’s or Daddy’s hand or the stroller. Lily (age 3) really likes to run, so this rule is hard for her, but we remind her that if she wants to run and play at the bouncy castles or park (or wherever else we are going), then she needs to stay close to us.
5. Take sun protection.
Children can get a sunburn even on a day that looks slightly cloudy or overcast, and weather can change quickly. Pack sunscreen in your bag and encourage children to wear hats, long sleeves, and pants. Sunshine (age 5) adores her shorts, but is usually okay with a long-sleeved shirt. Leaving her long hair loose actually helps cover up her neck and prevent sunburn there. I also recommend hats that have straps, as they are more likely to stay on heads (we’ve lost more than one hat at a kids’ festival!).
6. Wear good shoes.
If we go out for the day, I insist the girls wear their running shoes. Even if it takes us longer to get in and out of the bouncy castles, it’s worth it to have a child who is not complaining about her feet because of shoes that cause blisters or don’t offer enough support.
7. Take water and snacks.
On a long day, children get hungry and thirsty, often at times when it isn’t convenient (or cheap) to grab a snack for them. Remind your children that they should NEVER take food from someone they don’t know or pick up food off the ground. Having their favourite snacks handy prevents them from whining about food and being offered some by someone else. Encourage them to drink lots during the day to prevent dehydration or heat stroke.
8. Go with another family.
If possible, arrange to attend the festival or kids’ event with another family. Children love hanging out with their friends and then there are twice as many adults to watch the kids. I find that my girls are also more likely to “follow the rules” and stay close if their friends are—sometimes peer pressure helps them listen.
What do you do to keep your family safe and together during outings in crowded places? Or how are you celebrating Canada Day this year?