The 4th of July is a time to celebrate. But if you don’t take some simple precautions, a celebration can turn dangerous, or even deadly. Here are some tips to make sure you and your family have a great holiday.
The safest way to see a fireworks show is to leave it to the professionals. Find a public fireworks show and watch from at least 500 feet away. You really don’t want to mess with fireworks yourself. They can cause serious burns and other injuries. In fact, 230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries around the July 4th holiday according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Many state laws forbid fireworks. If yours allows it and you insist:
- Always have an adult on hand to supervise any type of fireworks activity. Seemingly innocent sparklers, for instance, can burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees!
- When lighting a fuse, wear eye protection, keep your body an arm’s length away and never go directly over a firework. After the fuse is lit, back up to a safe distance as quickly as possible.
- If a firework is a dud, leave it alone. Never try to light it again.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of emergency, and after you’re done douse everything with plenty of water before throwing the used fireworks out.
Grilling meat safely can be a delicious way to eat a 4th of July meal. But you need to take some safeguards. Never use propane or charcoal barbecue grills in enclosed areas like your house, a camper, etc.
- Keep the grill well away from your home, deck railings, and not under anything that can catch fire like eaves or overhanging branches.
- Never leave the grill unattended, and keep children and pets away.
- Use special long-handed cooking tools made specifically for a barbecue to reduce the risk of burns.
- If you smell gas while you’re cooking, turn off the tank and burners. If the smell continues, move everyone away from the grill and call the fire department.
What says 4th of July better than a trip to the beach or pool? But being around water has its dangers as well. Every day about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. A few safety tips:
- Don’t rely on floatation devices like floaties. These items give parents – and children – a false sense of security. But flotation devices can easily pop, slip off, or slip out of the child’s hands. If you’re going to use a flotation device, it should be a coastguard-approved lifejacket. And even still – always stay within arm’s reach of your child.
- Watch your children even more carefully at a crowded party. It sounds counterintuitive but the more adults around your child when he’s swimming, the more danger he’s in. Everyone assumes someone else is watching the children, when in fact, usually nobody is. Always appoint a water watcher to do 15 to 20-minute shifts. They should be strong swimmers and know CPR.
- Despite what you see at the movies, the most dangerous thing at the beach isn’t sharks. It’s rip currents. More than 80 percent of beach rescues are due to these powerful, narrow channels of lightning-speed water. But rip currents won’t pull you under, only away from shore. The secret to keeping safe is not to panic. Swim parallel to the shore until you’re out of the rip current. Then you’ll be able to swim safely back to land.
Don’t let an accident ruin your holiday. With a few precautions you can enjoy all day long.