Mardi Gras Safety:  It’s all fun and parades until someone gets hurt!

Matthew Bernard, M.D.

With Carnival Season underway, many families are preparing for the fun and excitement that parades can bring. But before you yell “throw me somethin’ mister!” read these tips to ensure your family has a safe and happy Mardi Gras.

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What are some Mardi Gras injury risks?

Anything can happen during the season: a knock on the head with beads, tripping over tents and chairs or falling off of a ladder.

You should visit an Emergency Department if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of balance or fainting
  • Difficulty speaking, altered mental status or confusion
  • Falls with injury or while taking blood thinning medications
  • Loss of vision
  • Head and eye injuries
  • Broken bones or dislocated joints
  • Deep cuts that require stitches – especially on the face
  • Serious burns

How can you prevent injury during Carnival?

There are fortunately many things you can do to stay safe, healthy and enjoy all of the fun Mardi Gras has to offer.

  • Stay hydrated
    • Alcohol is a diuretic and strips water from the body. Intoxication and/or alcholhol poisoning are common reasons for medical attention during Mardi Gras. If you choose to drink, please do so in moderation. A good rule of thumb is to have one drink, then one water to stay hydrated and cut back on the amount of alcohol consumed.
    • Choose a beverage that includes at least some water such as club soda, seltzer or mineral water and blend beverages with ice.
  • Don’t reach down to pick up beads, doubloons, etc.
    • Put your foot on it, and when it’s safe (between floats), you can bend down to pick it up
    • Fingers can easily be crunched
  • Use eye protection
    • Wear sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB radiation
    • Helps prevent beads or other items from scratching your eyes
  • Keep young ears safe
    • Bring noise canceling headphones for young children or kids sensitive to loud noises
  • Stay warm
    • Layer up!
    • Our weather is unpredictable, and keeping kids comfy ensures a better time
    • Choose the same color scheme to make it easier to keep an eye on your family

Practice Ladder Safety:

Ladders are a great way to contain little ones but can also be a safety concern.

  • To stay safe, place ladders a safe distance (ladders length) back from the parade route.
  • If you have a Mardi Gras ladder, keep your younger children buckled in
  • Kids love the high vantage point and you won’t have to worry about them getting lost or running in front of a float
  • Provide eye protection to your children on the ladders
  • An adult should be standing on the back of the ladder while children are seated in the “bucket”

Mardi Gras is unpredictable. Touro is reliable.

Whether your back aches from putting the kids on your shoulders, you didn’t ‘step back’ fast enough for the marching band or you caught a pair of beads to the face, Touro’s Emergency Department can take care of Mardi Gras injuries big and small.

Conveniently located right off the St. Charles Avenue Parade Route, the Touro Emergency Department works to keep every patient’s wait time as short as possible, while providing the high quality care you expect, so you can get back to life and the parade route quickly.

Click here to learn more about Touro’s ED.

Click here to view Touro’s Mardi Gras video series on YouTube.

Bernard, MatthewDr. Matthew Bernard is a board certified Emergency Medicine physician and Director of the Touro Infirmary Emergency Department.  Dr. Bernard is a graduate of LSU Medical School in New Orleans, LA, and completed his Emergency Medicine Residents at Charity Hospital/University Hospital in New Orleans.

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