Children at Festivals: the basics
Festivals can be overwhelming for adults, noisy, smelly and full of strangers (some in funny clothes). So imagine what it may be like for the little ones. Lots of lovely family memories can be created at festivals but be mindful that children may need lots of reassurance that it’s all fun and OK.
Children’s ears are very sensitive, good quality ear defenders should be used to protect against permanent damage from prolonged exposure to loud music and they should be kept well away from speakers.
Plenty of wet wipes and antibacterial hand gel is essential to prevent tummy upsets. Most festivals are held in fields and on farmland, so there is cow poo and wee mixed into the mud. Plastic sheeting or a shower curtain can protect little ones from crawling too much in the mud. Hand hygiene before eating is top priority. Hand gel and running water for hand washing are usually available at festival toilets.
Always accompany children to the toilet, it can be the busiest place. Most festivals have portaloos but some also have “long drops” which could be a hazard for small unaccompanied children. They may struggle to reach over or find no steps to help them, so helping hands required. It is always advisable to take your own toilet paper as it never runs out at a convenient moment. If there is a Kids Area, little toilets may be available.
First Aid points are available at all festivals, individual websites will be able to advise you. Bring a first aid kit that includes plasters, more wipes and anti bac gel (can’t have too much) and sachets of paracetamol syrup.
Children do not always realise they are thirsty and this increases the risk of dehydration. They should aim to have 6-8 non or low sugary drinks per day. Be prepared to increase this if you are out on a warm festival day. Water points are available on sites for refilling bottles as they empty.
Most festivals are outdoors and once it stops raining, the obvious option is to be outside enjoying the sights and sounds. There is often little shade. Children’s skin is more at risk from sunburn. All the sun safe rules apply, only more so; more sun cream and cover up as much as possible. Warm windy days especially as cool breeze takes the edge off the sensation of burning.
Other practical advice to ensure that children enjoy the festival and reduce stress for parents is available at