Attending a county fair in North Dakota can be a delightful experience for families, offering a blend of entertainment, education, and community spirit. However, the bustling environment also necessitates heightened vigilance, especially when it comes to children's safety.

As a past fair board member for our local fair, these are the key things I think parents can do to ensure their kids have a fun and safe visit.

Establish a Meeting Point and Communication Plan

Upon arrival, identify a prominent, easy-to-find location to serve as a meeting point if anyone gets separated. This could be the entrance gate, a specific ride, or a landmark booth. Teach children to recognize this spot and practice finding it. Additionally, equip older children with a cell phone or a simple communication device to stay in touch throughout the fair.

Supervise Children and Use Safety Gear

Maintaining close supervision is crucial, especially in crowded areas. For younger children, consider using wristbands with your contact information or even GPS-enabled devices. Many fairs offer rental strollers and wagons, providing a safe and contained space for toddlers. Ensure children are appropriately dressed for the weather, wear comfortable shoes, and apply sunscreen to protect against sunburn .

Drink Water

Be sure to drink plenty of water before and during your visit. You can also take a cooler with you so water is readily available to prevent dehydration. Water can also help cut back on overeating.

Educate Children About Stranger Danger and Safe Behavior

Teach children about the importance of staying close and not wandering off with strangers. You can role-play scenarios with them to help them understand what to do if they become lost or come across a stranger. Encourage them to seek help from fair staff or security personnel, who are usually easily identifiable by their uniforms.

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Take a Picture Of Your Kids When You Arrive At The Fair

Taking a picture of your kids upon their arrival at the fair is crucial in the unfortunate event they go missing. A recent photo provides an accurate, up-to-date visual reference, which can be immediately shared with fair staff, security, and law enforcement to expedite the search process. This ensures everyone involved in locating your child has a clear and current image, enhancing the chances of a swift and successful reunion amidst the crowd.

Prepare for Emergency Situations

Before heading to the fair, familiarize yourself with the location of first aid stations and emergency exits. Carry a basic first aid kit, including band-aids, antiseptic wipes, and any necessary medications. Hydrate regularly and encourage frequent breaks in shaded areas to prevent heat exhaustion, particularly during North Dakota's hot summer days.

By taking these proactive steps, parents can significantly enhance their children's safety at county fairs, ensuring that the experience is enjoyable and worry-free.

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