Happy 4th of July everyone! What better way to celebrate our country than firing up the grill, splashing around in the pool and of course lighting off some fireworks? And, okay maybe the title of this blog is a little dramatic, but there’s nothing to end a happy day faster than a trip to the emergency room on a national holiday. We’re bringing you some tips on how to have a fun and stay safe on the 4th this year!
When the sun is out, why not cook outside? Grilling is a great way to get people together to enjoy some delicious food. There are a few things to keep in mind while using this big, hot piece of metal to grill, though. It’s especially good to remember these things when there are so many distractions around.
- Before anything else, make sure you check the hoses for any leaks or cracks
- Designate someone that will attend the grill at all times, or that can pass the responsibility on to someone else
- Make sure small kids and animals stay away from the grill
- Never grill indoors! Even in the garage
- Keep the grill at least 2 feet away from the wall and anything flammable
- After you’re done using the grill, turn it off and make sure to clean it to prevent build up and clogging in the tubes
While grilling and eating outdoors, it’s especially important to make sure the food is the right temperature to prevent bacteria and sickness. Nobody wants food poisoning at a social gathering! Most meat should be cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Refrigerated items like potato salad should be kept below 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures between 41 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit are considered to be in the “danger zone” for bacteria and shouldn’t be eaten.
It seems like swimming is always a part of 4th of July. It’s usually a hot day and swimming is a chance to cool off (especially if you were the one doing all that grilling) and splash around with the kids. Whether you’re headed to the pool to float around or to the ocean to catch some waves, we have some tips to keep in mind to keep everyone safe.
At the Pool
Swimming in the pool is safer in some ways than swimming in open water. Swimmers are in a contained space where others can (and should) keep an eye on them, and you don’t have to worry about the natural elements taking over like waves and varying depths. Somethings to keep in mind while swimming in the pool:
- Kids should always have adult supervision
- Never swim alone
- Always swim sober
- Don’t dive in shallow water
We have a great article, “Backyard Pool Safety”, that goes more in depth and explains your options for protecting others, especially kids, when you have a pool in your backyard.
At the Beach
All of the above precautions also apply to swimming at the beach. You want to make sure someone keeps an eye on the swimmer, and those who chose to drink don’t swim. Diving is also an issue in the ocean because of the typical gradual decline into deeper waters. If you’re jumping from a higher surface like a rock, you want to be absolutely sure the water is deep enough before you jump.
Another element of ocean swimming is rip currents, which can be very dangerous. If someone is stuck in a rip current, he or she should swim parallel to the beach until they escape. He or she should then swim back to shore, or back-float if they are too tired. Rip currents usually occur in lower places, so try to stay away from piers and jetties while swimming in the ocean.
Our previous blog article, “Tanning: The Good, The Bad and The Dangerous”, goes in depth about protecting yourself from the sun and the dangers of indoor tanning, but here we’ll share some tips the FDA gives for skin protection from the sun:
- Limit time in the sun between 10 am and 2 pm (when the sun’s rays are the strongest)
- Wear clothing to cover skin
- Use sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher
- Reapply every 2 hours or more often if you’re swimming/sweating
As far as preventing hear exhaustion and heat stroke:
- Make sure you’re drinking enough water, even if you don’t feel thirsty
- Take breaks from the heat often
Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature, nausea and vomiting, high heart rate, confusion, irritability and delirium. The victim may not be sweating if the heat stroke is due to hot weather.
4th of July is the biggest firework day of the year! Americans use around 285 million pounds of fireworks each year on Independence Day alone. There’s nothing like watching a big firework show with friends and family after a day of celebrating, or lighting them off on your own in the streets. With that being said, though, nearly 70% of firework related injuries happen within a month of this holiday. Like all the other topics we’ve covered in this blog post, there are just a few precautions to take to make sure you have an enjoyable experience.
- If you’re watching a big firework show, set up camp at least 500 ft away from where they are lighting off
- Whoever is lighting the fireworks should wear eye protection
- only light one at a time and don’t try to re-light ones that didn’t go off
- don’t point the fireworks at anyone or anything
- keep water on hand just in case
- only light fireworks if you’re sober
Now that you know all things safety for the 4th, go enjoy it! Follow our tips and you’ll be able to avoid a lot of potential injuries and have a great time with friends and family celebrating Independence Day. Whether your’re grilling up a storm, spending the day in the water, watching an epic firework show, or all three, have a fun 4th of July!