Mardi Gras Safety Tips for Your Family

Disclosure :: this post is sponsored by Touro Infirmary.

It’s Carnival Time!

Everyone in New Orleans has their Mardi Gras traditions – your favorite spot on the avenue, a go-to bakery with the best king cake, a parade you never miss. With all of the fun and excitement Carnival season brings, no one likes to think about getting hurt. But Mardi Gras can and does lead to accidents. I hope the points below will keep you and your family safe while enjoying everything the Carnival season has to offer.

The fact is, Mardi Gras can be dangerous. According to the 2012 Louisiana Morbidity Report, there were 110 more emergency visits per day during Mardi Gras weekend than the daily average for the rest of the year. Last year, EMS calls were double their usual volume the Saturday before Fat Tuesday.

Follow these tips to stay safe while parading in New Orleans ::

Heavy Lifting: From lifting kids onto your shoulders and hauling ladders to pulling wagons for miles, Mardi Gras can be a pain – literally speaking. When moving heavy ladders or coolers, pay attention to your posture. It is important to bend your knees and not your back when carrying a heavy load.

  • Avoid any twisting. Turn fully instead of twisting your body.
  • Have a friend help you carry your ladder and other heavy objects.
  • Some people like to place wheels on the seat of the ladder so they can roll them.

 Ladder Safety: For many families, ladders are essential to the parade going experience. Ladders can be great tools to keep your children safely contained and entertained, but there are some important safety tips to keep in mind.

  • It is safer to have someone hand your child to you when putting them in the ladder rather than carrying them up the ladder with you.
  • You might want to add a safety strap or belt for extra security.
  • Always face the ladder when moving up and down.
  • Adults should stand on the ladder when children are in the seats, and stay on the first or second step of the ladder to keep balance.

Keep Your Distance: Injuries are sustained each year when Mardi Gras enthusiasts get a little too close to the action. To stay safe, place ladders a safe distance (one ladder’s length) back from the parade route. Make sure your children stay with you at all time, or in a designated area monitored by an adult. No one wants a trombone to the face or to come in close contact with a flambeau.

Eye / Head Protection: The most common types of injury directly related to Mardi Gras activities are eye and head injuries as a result of objects being thrown from floats. Keep eye health in mind and wear protective eye wear during parades. Even decorated sunglasses can help! And keep your attention focused on objects that may be headed your way while floats are passing you.

Hydration: Mardi Gras parades can make for a long family outing, and there aren’t always easy food and beverage choices once out on the parade route. Pack a bag of healthy snacks to keep you going, along with water (and other non-alcoholic beverages) to keep you hydrated.

Alcohol: We all know Carnival festivities often involve alcohol. The key here is pacing yourself, and knowing when to stop. Emergency departments frequently see inebriated people needing medical attention during Mardi Gras. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Parade days can be long and this means plenty of alcohol can be consumed. A good rule of thumb is to have one drink and then one water to stay hydrated and cut back on the amount of alcohol consumed.

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.

About Dr. Matthew Bernard

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.



  1. Mardi Gras is a special festival in New Orleans, everyone are busy and I am not surprised when the accident rate went high in numbers than usual days. Most of the people are spending their time outside of their home to celebrate the Mardi Gras. Keep an eye on your children to avoid any accident, some situations can be out of our control. Festival should be fun for everyone.

  2. I used to write, in sharpie, on my kids bellies, “IF FOUND, LOST, HURT, ETC., PLEASE CALL MOMMY (504)555-1111 OR DADDY (504)555-2222.”

    Now, I bought some of those wrist bans one may get at a water park. They are brightly colored, so the kids love them. I put their first name, our cell numbers, food allergies, drug allergies, & what meds they are taking. My college daughter squawked, but when I explained the alternative (sharpie on the belly),she & her friends happily agreed. I made 4 for each kid, in case they fall off, etc. Oh, they also wear them on their ankles


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