As you pack up your king cake, your ladder and your bead bag, don’t forget to go over tips with your family to keep everyone happy and safe. Dr. Charles Muntan, ER Medical Director at Lakeview Regional Medical Center, a campus of Tulane Medical Center, says “we see a fair amount of preventable accidents and injuries every Carnival season, many of which can be avoided if you follow a few good safety guidelines.” Muntan continues, “but if a life threatening situation occurs, we strongly encourage you to call 911. Don’t try to get the person to a hospital yourself, emergency medical services can get to you faster than you can get to us.”

Following are a few simple safety guidelines:

  • Don’t fight with others for beads.
  • Don’t bend down to pick up anything to prevent fingers from getting stepped on by other parade-goers.
  • Bring healthy snacks to eat between pieces of king cake.
  • Drink plenty of water, especially if you are drinking alcohol.
  • Don’t climb on structures to get closer to the riders.

If you have small children:

  • Put your name and contact information on their clothing or arms.
  • Warn them not to get too close to the floats.
  • Be wary of what they catch – especially for toddlers, who could choke on broken beads or the eye of a stuffed animal.
  • Set up a meeting spot in case they get lost.
  • Tell them to find a police officer if they do get lost or feel threatened by another person.
  • Bring plenty of hand sanitizer.

In the event a severe accident or life-threatening injury does occur, the emergency department at Lakeview Regional is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and is entirely staffed with board-certified emergency medical physicians, as well as certified emergency nurses specially trained in advanced cardiac life support. Lakeview Regional is also the first and only Level III Trauma Center in St. Tammany Parish, equipped with the latest technology and the most skilled caregivers. For non-life threatening situations, the Lakeview Regional website, LakeviewRegional.com, has an average ER wait time tracker offering an approximate wait time for care.