Happy Fourth of July! As you head out today to enjoy celebrating Independence Day—whether your destination is a backyard barbecue or a day at the beach—I want you and your loved ones to stay safe.
And with a few simple precautions you can do just that.
Summertime safety tips
My very wise mother always told us an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And she always turned out to be right. So with that in mind I’d like to share some summertime safety tips that can help make sure your holiday ends with a bang and not a fizzle.
1. Grilling safety:
Many Fourth of July celebrations involve cooking out. This is likely one of the reasons why July is a peak month for grilling accidents.
But with a few common sense precautions you can easily head off accidental fires and grilling injuries.
Whether you’re a purist and use charcoal, or you prefer the convenience of a gas grill these tips will help keep family and friends safe…
- Place the grill out in the open at least two feet away from the house, decks, branches or anything that can catch on fire.
- Announce a three feet pet and kid free zone around the grill to keep your most precious guests safe
- Make sure the chef avoids wearing any loose clothing that could accidently catch on fire
- Use those barbequing tools that are gathering dust in the garage, their long handles are designed to keep your grill master safe
- Never leave the grill unattended
For folks using a gas grill, a couple more safety tips to keep in mind…
- Make sure to regularly remove the grease buildup in the trays below the grill so it doesn’t accidently catch on fire
- Check the grill hoses for any cracks, leaks, or holes
- Always open a gas grill up before lighting it
And if you’re using a charcoal grill remember you should never add lighter fluid after the charcoal has already been ignited.
2. Water safety:
With summer in full swing Fourth of July is usually a sizzling hot day. So it’s really no wonder that heading to the beach, lake or pool is one of the most popular Independence Day activities.
But as fun as water activities are they can also be risky when you don’t plan ahead. To stay safe when beating the heat go over these water safety rules with the whole family…
- Walk don’t run around pool decks, which can be slippery leading to falls
- Always protect your neck by not diving into shallow or unknown waters
- Kids should NEVER swim unsupervised (make sure all kids AND adults know this rule)
- For young kids, or inexperienced swimmers, always use a Coast-Guard approved life jacket
- For adults always swim sober and with a buddy
- ALWAYS listen to the lifeguard
When swimming at the beach some additional precautions can help keep everyone safe…
- Pay attention to the weather forecast, always look for posted warning flags and keep your eyes on the sky for any incoming risky weather
- The surf can be unpredictable so appoint a safety monitor who stays out of the water and keeps an eye on all children and adults who go in (rotate the duty so everyone gets a chance to enjoy the water)
- Keep an eye out for marine animals that can be harmful such as jellyfish and crabs
- Stay at least 100 feet away from rocky outcroppings or piers
- Discuss rip currents with any swimmers in the group to make sure they understand if caught in one they should swim parallel to the shore until they are out of it before trying to swim back in
And for those heading out on a boat make sure to check that you have a life preserver for every passenger on board before heading out. And never drink alcohol when driving a boat.
3. Fireworks safety:
Unfortunately Fourth of July is peak season for eye injuries from fireworks and sparklers. In fact, experts say fireworks are responsible for well over 10,000 emergency room visits every year with well over half of those occurring on or around the July 4th.
Sparklers, which most of us tend to think of as perfectly safe, cause around half of the injuries in kids under five. And keep in mind it’s often a bystander who gets hurt, not the person lighting or holding the firework.
If you or someone else gets an eye injury the organization Prevent Blindness America offers some tips on how to handle it.
For specks in the eye, which can lead to painful corneal abrasions or worse, follow these steps…
- Avoid rubbing the eye
- Use eye wash to cleanse the eye if available, or let tears naturally wash the speck out
- Gently lift the upper eyelid outward and down over the lower lid to help flush the particle out
- If the speck doesn’t come out keep the eye closed
- Apply a bandage over the eye to help keep it closed, and see a doctor as soon as possible
If the eye or eyelid is punctured don’t wash the eye out or try to remove any objects or particles. Instead cover the eye with some sort of rigid shield such as the bottom of a disposable cup, but don’t apply any pressure. Head straight to the emergency room.
Wishing you, and yours, a happy and SAFE Fourth of July!