Independence Day is a time to celebrate the United States becoming an independent nation free from the British Empire. But with the barbecues, fireworks displays, and other festivities, there are some safety hazards that come with it, as well.
That’s why we’ve created this guide for keeping families safe while they celebrate, including the four-legged family members as well.
Independence Day Parade
If you’re taking children to an Independence Day parade, keep an eye on them. Make sure they don’t wander into the road to grab candy and always inspect their candy before they eat it.
Also, be aware of the weather conditions and pack any items you may need. For example, if it’s a hot, sunny day, pack plenty of water, wear a hat, and apply sunscreen. It’s best if you bring extra sunscreen so that you can reapply as the day goes on.
If you’re grilling for Independence Day weekend, make sure to clean your grill and check for cracks, holes, or leaks. If you clean your grill with a wire brush, you may want to consider checking to make sure no bristles are left behind. Metal bristles can be accidentally ingested with the food and cause health problems.
Avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing that could possibly catch fire, and don’t leave the grill unattended when in use. Also, don’t grill indoors or on a surface that could catch on fire, like a wooden deck.
In addition, keep children away from the grilling area in case of a fire or explosion. Create a children-free zone around the grilling area and other potential hazards to keep them safe.
Boating and Traveling
When spending time out on the boat, always be mindful of the weather conditions. Have a plan in place to keep your family safe in case severe weather strikes. Also, be sure you have enough life preservers or vests for everyone on board and have a first aid kit on hand.
Whether you’re traveling by boat, car, or another type of vehicle, don’t drink and drive. Independence Day is considered the deadliest American holiday, mostly due to drunk driving crashes.
During the 2015 Fourth of July weekend, 146 people died in crashes with at least one person driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher. And 92 people died in crashes with at least one person with a BAC of .15 or higher. With the legal limit of .08 BAC for driving under the influence, these are sobering statistics.
Fireworks are a staple for Fourth of July celebrations, but it’s important to remain safe when watching or igniting them. If you’re lighting your own fireworks, be aware of your local laws and permit requirements. Also, read the cautionary labels on your fireworks before using them.
The best way to stay safe is to refrain from lighting your own fireworks. However, if you’re going to ignite fireworks, follow these safety tips to keep you and your family safe:
- Spectators should stay at least 25 feet away for ground-based fireworks and at least 75 yards away for aerial displays
- Keep children away from fireworks (glow sticks are a fun and safe alternative for them)
- Don’t disassemble fireworks or try to make your own
- Keep a fire extinguisher, water hose, or buckets of water nearby
- Only light fireworks on the ground in a dry and fire-resistant area, like on a concrete driveway
- Don’t light multiple fireworks at once
- Don’t try to relight a firework if it malfunctions
- Before throwing fireworks away, soak them in water
Only a responsible and sober adult should light fireworks. Also, they should wear eye protection and not wear loose-fitting clothing. Keep your community safe by reporting any illegal fireworks use to your local police or fire department.
A lot of the children safety tips also can be applied to pets. Keep them away from the grilling area, fireworks, glow sticks, and other safety hazards. Pets may be frightened by fireworks and run away, so it’s best to keep them indoors during fireworks displays. Additionally, make sure they have an ID tag on their collar just in case they run off.