Football season is here which means day-long tailgate parties and game-day celebrations. Often, it’s a family affair, including young children.

Here’s some tips to make tailgating safe from Dr. Cheree Wheeler-Duke, a family medicine physician at Ochsner Health Center.

Sun protection

  • Too much sun can make children sick, but it can also cause permanent damage to the skin and boost their risk for skin cancer later in life. “Consider UV protection clothing in addition to sunscreen as an added measure for limiting UV ray exposure,” says the physician. “These fabrics are generally comfortable and well-tolerated in the heat, as the fabric is breathable and lightweight. Make sure to pair with sunglasses and a hat as well!”
  • Kids six months and older should apply at least an SPF 30 or higher sunscreen with broad spectrum UVA and UVB coverage throughout the day. Begin applying 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapply as the child sweats. It is also helpful to set up your child’s play area under a tent or in the shade.

Food & drink

  • Children can be especially sensitive to the heat. If they are running and playing, they will need extra hydration to replenish lost fluids. Bring plenty of water.
  • 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.

Safety

  • As alcohol is often present at tailgate parties, a sober adult should supervise the children at all times. Do not drink and drive at anytime.
  • With game day festivities drawing thousands, it only takes a second for children to become lost in a crowd. Have family and kid-friendly activities in your tailgate area to keep your child occupied and to reduce their chances of wandering off and becoming lost.
  • Plan in advance a designated, common meeting place in case a child does become lost.
  • Try to dress your child in something very unique — a special hat or arm band — something that stands out so that it is easier to spot them among other fans.
  • Allow plenty of time to enter so that children do not feel rushed or crowded on the stairs.
  • Prepare your child for the noise level. Bring foam or wax earplugs or noise-cancelling headphones for small children to help reduce noise.