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Mascot Safety!




We are committed to keeping you and your

 mascot safe…and liability free
!



Like any specialized business equipment or tool, your mascot requires knowledgeable, professionally trained people to operate it safely & successfully. Thorough, ongoing- and well documented- mascot education and training for both you and your company/organization personnel in the proper use of your mascot benefits you in three ways:

First, it insures the physical safety & well being of your mascot performers who actually wear the costume.

Second, it helps to insure both the physical- and psychological- safety and well being of the general public who will be placed in direct physical contact/close proximity to your mascot thousands of times every year.

And third, it will create an extra layer of legal liability protection around you and your company/organization to minimize the effects from any accidents/incidents/mishaps that may occur as a result of operating a mascot program. 


In the old mascot days (pre 1970), just having a clean, well maintained mascot costume for your performer to run around in was usually adequate, but, in 1970, the mascot world began to change. In that year, The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established  in the U.S. to closely scrutinize workplace safety and health, and to hold business owners responsible for accidents due to insufficient, inadequate- or, in some cases, non-existent- employee training. It was no longer good enough just to say as an employer that you had properly trained your mascot performers; under federal law, in the event of a mascot accident or mishap you now had to prove- usually by producing written, documented procedures & instructions- that you had indeed done so.

The world of mascots- and the implications for those organizations that use them- began to change rapidly yet again during the 1990’s with the meteoric rise of personal cell phones and social media. Prior to this, if poor or inadequate training of a mascot performer led to an accident or embarrassing incident involving the general public, chances are the unreliability of eyewitness memory alone involving the negative incident provided a certain degree legal “wiggle room” for the defendant and prevented the incident from ever reaching court; and, on the rare occasions that it did, few people ever heard about it anyway outside of the few individuals directly involved.    

In the 21st century, however, even the smallest negative mascot incident is usually captured on the spot by multiple cell phone cameras and video- and, within minutes, the incriminating material is posted online for the entire world to see & evaluate, causing- at the very least- considerable embarrassment and public relations damage for the mascot’s owner/sponsoring organization. At worst, this type of documentation can lead to lawsuits in the millions of dollars.  

Taking all of the above into consideration, it is clear that a dedicated focus on mascot safety & liability issues- and how to minimize one’s exposure to the same by thorough research, ongoing education, and consistent upgrades and improvements- is not only desirable but an absolute necessity for the successful 21st century mascot owner. As an industry leader dedicated to making mascots a safe, happy, and liability free experience for you, your employees, and the thousands who will meet & greet your mascot throughout the years, we are pleased to offer you three excellent resources to achieve and maintain this goal:

1. Sign on to our Kincaid Karacter Mascot Blog"

 Be sure to visit our blog on a regular basis! Here, we will keep you “up to date” and “in the loop” on all the latest international mascot mascot safety and liability 
news & issues via the latest social media resources, including Facebook and Twitter….and you can also comment, post, & receive replies concerning the same. 

"Kincaid Karacter Mascot Blog" Direct Link:


2. Visit the “Mascot Support Services” and “Kincaid Karacter Mascot Store”
sections of our website to learn about excellent mascot safety and liability reduction programs, products, and services we have created just for you.  

"Mascot Support Services" Direct Link:

3. Finally, for your immediate review and assistance, we have combed through our archives and assembled below key mascot safety & liability highlights from our nearly 40 years of experience in the mascot industry. Updated on an ongoing basis, you will find this information useful in designing and operating your mascot program to both maximize its safety and minimize your liability exposure:  


Mascot Safety & Liability Reduction Tips


When Performing in Mascots, Always Be

 Aware of The 3 “Karacter Cautions”:


      1. RESTRICTED VISION

Wearing a mascot costume will restrict your vision. Use caution when walking, and avoid performing without an escort’s help as your vision may be restricted.  Never attempt activities such as driving a car, boat, bicycle, etc., while performing in a mascot costume unless your employer has given you special training to do this.


2. EXTREME TEMPERATURE

Mascot costumes may become excessively hot under certain conditions, and extended use can be hazardous. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after use, and limit duration of use in hot weather.  Take regular breaks when performing and watch for any signs of hyperthermia or heat related illness.


3. RESTRICTED MOBILITY

Wearing mascot costumes will restrict mobility and require extreme caution in moving around. Due to lessened mobility and vision, NEVER attempt activities such as driving a car, boat, bicycle, etc. Avoid performing without the help/presence of an escort, especially when climbing stairs, working near children, or in other situations where reduced mobility or vision may create a hazardous situation to yourself or others.

10 Mascot Golden Rules for Keeping
Cool & Safe While Performing In Mascot
Costumes


Keeping cool and comfortable in costume is not just a good idea- it’s essential for your health and safety, as well as to maximize the effectiveness of your mascot performance.

How hot and uncomfortable will you be inside a mascot costume? That answer depends a great deal, of course, on your individual chemistry, the type of costume you are wearing, and the time of year and environmental conditions of your performance venue.

Keeping cool and comfortable when performing mascot costumes involves more than just activating a costume ventilation system…it involves important steps before, during, and after the performance as well. Here are some great tips for keeping cool, safe, and healthy when performing in your mascot costume:

1. Limit your time in costume to no more than 1 hour at a stretch, even in an air conditioned environment, with a 15 minute break on the hour. If you’re performing outdoors in the Spring and Summer, limit your costume time to 20-30 minutes at a time, with a 15-20 minute break in-between sets.

WARNING!- Performing more than an hour’s stretch in a mascot costume in extremely hot weather can be hazardous to your health, resulting in dehydration and/or heat exhaustion/heat stroke.   

2. Dress for success! Avoid wearing tight fitting clothing inside the costume (such as jeans, button up shirts, etc.) Perfect mascot performer wardrobe consists of a pair of loose fitting shorts, a loose fitting T-Shirt, a headband to keep hair and perspiration out of your eyes, a towel, and good thick athletic quality socks. Remember to bring several of each so you can change out of the damp/wet shirts, etc., throughout the day- changing into dry clothes makes you feel better. 

3. Always arrive early at your performance venue and secure a break area that’s secure, secluded, shady, and cool, with a 110 electrical outlet handy if possible. Don’t wait until you are hot, exhausted, and thirsty before trying to locate a place to take a break.

4. If your mascot doesn't already have one, consider purchasing/installing a fan/ventilation system inside your mascot’s head. These are well worth the investment as they circulate fresh air around your face (and help to force out stale air and carbon dioxide that have accumulated inside the character head). Ventilation systems insure that you’re breathing fresh air while in costume, and fresh oxygen in your bloodstream allows your body to cool itself more efficiently; they also keep fresh air moving around your face, which:

A- Blows air on the perspiration on your face, helping to cool your body temperature;

B- Helps eliminate feelings of “stuffiness” and claustrophobia.

*For a complete list of our 10 mascot Golden Rules for Keeping Cool & Safe While Performing In Mascot Costumes please visit The Kincaid Karacter Mascot Store at shop@kincaidkaracters.com and order your Mascot S.T.O.P. Stop Before You Go! (safety,training, operations, and performance manual).

Limiting Your Liability- 10 “Must Include”
Mascot Employee Guidelines For Your Company/Organization Training Manual



1. Hiring and Recruitment Guidelines

Most professional mascot costumes are designed for normal adult use (for safety and liability reasons, we do not recommend that children perform in professional mascot costumes). As to height requirements and limitations, with most mascots the performer must be at least 5 feet tall, and no taller than 6’2. With most mascot costumes in general, performers who are 5’2 to 5’10 seem to look & work best.

Please remember… your mascot comes into direct physical contact with the general public.Therefore, a background check should be performed on all performers that are planning to wear your mascot costume. A mascot costume should never be worn by a person who is a registered sex offender, nor by anyone who has committed any violent crimes.

2."Talking While in Costume" Guidelines

A “no talking while in costume” policy should be enforced for your performers- that way, you’ll never have to worry about your performers getting you in trouble for saying something inappropriate or off color while representing you and your organization.

3. Mascot Abuse Prevention Guidelines

Always bring a mascot “lead” with you (someone to lead you around while in costume and watch your back, etc.). If you have to appear alone, back yourself into a corner or up against a wall where people cannot come up behind you; if someone decides to hit, punch, or otherwise molest you, chances are they’ll do it by coming up behind you, where you can’t see. When shaking hands while moving- especially in parades- curl your mascot hand fingers in towards your palm and let folks shake the balled, top portion of your hand (otherwise, troublemakers have a tendency to grab your individual fingers with the intention of pulling your hands/gloves off).

         DANGER! Special groups to watch out for (and avoid at all costs            if possible while in mascot costume):

A. Young boys from age 8-13 (Cub Scout Age) who are unaccompanied by adults.

B. Teenagers from age 13-18, who are unaccompanied by adults (the exception being teenage girls- just girls by themselves- who are usually safe & polite to approach in costume at any age.)  Teenage boys at this age, however- especially when in a group with just other boys- are bad news for mascots, as are teenage boys in the company of teenage girls (they are going to show off for & impress those girls by beating up on you!).

C. Anybody of any age or sex that has a beer bottle/alcoholic drink in hand and/or smells strongly of alcohol.


4. Always Document Your Interactions with both your Mascot Employees And The General Public

Whenever your employees use your mascot, provide them with written training and event instructions/guidelines, and make sure that they have read, understood, and signed off on them.  When your mascot interacts with the general public, always have an employee document the appearance as thoroughly as possible; photos are good, video is even better. Should someone every make a claim against you that your mascot did or said something inappropriate, video of the alleged incident is your best defense. Also, make sure to instruct & train your personnel in the art of creating detailed “incident reports” immediately/ASAP should an accident/injury/incident occur that involves your mascot.

*For a complete list of our Limiting Your Liability-10 "Must Include" Mascot Employee Guidelines For Your Company/Organization Training Manual please visit The Kincaid Karacter Mascot Store at 
shop@kincaidkaracters.com and order your Mascot S.T.O.P. Stop Before You Go! (safety, training, operations, and performance manual).