For Americans, it doesn’t get any more patriotic than Independence Day- or as most folks call it- July 4th. The holiday celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, drafted by Thomas Jefferson, in 1776.
It’s traditionally been a high-spirited holiday with fireworks, casual family and friends’ gatherings, parades, lake and pool parties, music and lots of food.
All these activities help build life’s memorable moments, however, the one memory you don’t want is a visit to the emergency room.
Here are some safety tips to keep in mind while enjoying the Fourth:
Fireworks: It’s really best to leave fireworks to the professionals, but if you’re planning on setting off some during the Fourth of July celebrations, follow these tips:
1. Be sure fireworks are legal in your area before using or buying them
2. Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities and never allow children to play with or ignite fireworks. Sparklers alone account for one quarter of emergency room fireworks injuries
3. If you set off fireworks, keep a bucket of water or fire extinguisher handy in case of malfunction or fire.
4. If fireworks malfunction, don’t relight them! Douse and soak them with water then throw them away.
5. Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially one that is glass or metal.
Grilling: Malfunctioning gas grills cause the majority of grill fires. In addition, thousands of people visit emergency rooms every year because they have burned themselves while barbecuing.
1. Use your grill well away from your home and deck railings, and out from under branches or overhangs.
2. Open your gas grill before lighting.
3. Periodically remove grease or fat buildup in trays below your gas or propane grill so it cannot be ignited.
4. Declare a three-foot "kid and pet-free zone" around the grill to keep them safe.
5. Avoid loose clothing that can catch fire when cooking on the grill.
Water Safety: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
1. Never leave a young child unattended near water and do not trust a child’s life to another child; teach children to always ask permission to go near water.
2. Have young children or inexperienced swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets around water, but do not rely on life jackets alone.
3. Establish rules for your family and enforce them without fail. For example, set limits based on each person’s ability, do not let anyone play around drains and suction fittings, and do not allow swimmers to hyperventilate before swimming under water or have breath-holding contests.
4. Even if you do not plan on swimming, be cautious around natural bodies of water including ocean shoreline, rivers and lakes. Cold temperatures, currents and underwater hazards can make a fall into these bodies of water dangerous.
5. If you go boating, wear a life jacket! Most boating fatalities occur from drowning.
6. Avoid alcohol use. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination; affects swimming and diving skills; and reduces the body’s ability to stay warm.
7. Always keep a charged cell phone with you for emergency use, but do not get distracted using your phone to text, surf the net or reading emails.
July 4th is a historic holiday and one that holds a special place in America’s heart. Make sure your 4th is memorable for all the right reasons.
Happy Independence Day!