6 Ways to Celebrate July 4 Safely
Fireworks. Backyard barbecues. A day at the beach or lake. Nothing says summer quite like July 4. But each year thousands of Americans end up spending part of the holiday in the emergency room thanks to avoidable injuries. This is especially true of small children, for whom July 4 is the most dangerous U.S. holiday.
Whether you're lighting sparklers or grilling brisket, here's how to have a safe Independence Day:
1. Don't let your kids play with or ignite fireworks. Children and young adults account for 58 percent of injuries from fireworks every year. Get more firework safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
2. Wear a life jacket. If you're going to be on the water over the July 4 weekend, wear your lifejacket. More than two-thirds of victims in fatal boating accidents drowned; 90 percent of those weren't wearing a life jacket. Most drowning victims were in boats smaller than 21 feet. Get more safe boating tips (.pdf) from the National Safe Boating Council.
3. Protect your head. Surprisingly, most injuries to children on July 4 are linked not to holiday fireworks, but to everyday activities like riding bicycles or playing sports, according to one recent study in Pediatrics. That's why it's important to observe safety rules every day -- including holidays.
4. Grill safely. Even if you're master of the grill, you may still get burned if you don't follow these simple grilling safety steps.
5. Beat the heat. And the bugs. If your July 4 activities take you outside, remember to stay hydrated, apply sunscreen and wear the right clothing. Plus keep a first aid kit on hand. Here's what it should include.
6. Lay off the alcohol. Alcohol consumption is the biggest contributor to fatal boat and auto accidents. And you should never drink and handle fireworks. It's a recipe for disaster.Crazy 4th of July Injuries (and How to Prevent Them)