Whether you are going into the city for the Boston Pops or enjoying a local parade, there are a number of concerns you may have as a parent when it comes to keeping your family safe in a large crowd. While July 4th is a time of celebration, it doesn’t hurt to have some precautionary measures in place. This can include plans and measures to prevent (where possible) and mitigate: inclement weather, lost/wandering children, crowd management, and traffic and parking navigation, among other things.
As most of my advice for keeping the home safe entails, this is no different: just be prepared. Know the specifics of the event you are attending and have a plan.
Some things to consider to make your day more enjoyable and decrease risk:
- Transportation and parking. Does it make the most sense to drive and park, take public transportation, use a ride service, or even walk? Think about traffic, parking fees, road closures, public transit crowds – and pick what is most amenable to your family and the plans for the day.
What you can and cannot bring. Many events limit what you can bring in, including backpacks and food, so be prepared. If you absolutely need certain items like medication or snacks, make sure you research the rules beforehand and get any special permissions needed.
- Entry items and identification. Things such as tickets, passes, ID of any kind. Have them ready and easily accessible; then secured on your person once no longer needed for entry.
- Evacuation routes. Know how to move away from the event, either by car/vehicle or on foot. If the event is inside a building, know your exit points. Talk to the whole family about the routes you have identified.
- Family separation. Whether a wandering child or an evacuation, there is a risk of being separated from your group. Make a plan with everyone you are attending the event with on where to meet and how best to communicate if you are separated. This may include telling your child to stay where they are and you will find them, depending on the event logistics. Make sure your children have your cell phone number.
- Event resources. Make sure your children know where and to whom to go to in case they need help. Point out security or other staff, or certain areas designated for these folks/this purpose, when you get to the event.
And most of all, have fun! There is always some element of risk in large crowds, but with some planning and preparation, you can rest easier with the knowledge you have of the event and surrounding area.