By Ally Bolender
Web Content Contributor
The Fourth of July is a perfect time to get together with friends, family and, of course, fireworks. As important as it is to have fun on this Independence Day, it’s just as important to do so safely.
Check out these safety tips to help avoid any accidents this Fourth of July:
1. Practice firework safety
Fireworks are a necessity for the Fourth of July, but it’s important to use them safely so that everyone has a great time.
Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials. Read and follow the instructions on the firework packaging. Be sure you are using fireworks in a legal area.
Store the fireworks in a cool place, away from children and pets. Remember to clean up all discarded fireworks and firework casings.
2. Practice safe food and drink consumption
Keep perishable food out of the sun. Store food in a cooler stocked with ice or cold packs. If you have raw food to grill, consider keeping it indoors until the time comes. Make sure pets and children stay away from raw food and watch that they don’t consume something that could be spoiled.
If grilling, be sure to keep an eye on children and pets in the area and do not leave the grilling area unattended. Only grill outside and away from structures and don’t grill while wearing loose clothing and be sure to have a fire extinguisher handy.
If you are celebrating Independence Day with alcohol, make sure to have food in your stomach before drinking. Keep an eye on your drink at all times and know your limit. Be sure children and pets don’t get into the alcohol as well.
Swimming and drinking are common Fourth of July festivities, but don’t mix the two. Do not swim in deep or dangerous waters intoxicated and be sure to keep an eye on your friends and family.
3. Keep pets safe and content
If your pets are outside with you, make sure to keep them in a cool, shaded area. Frequently check the ground to make sure it’s not too hot for their paws. If you can’t leave your hand pressed against the ground for more than 10 seconds, it’s best you keep your fur-babies inside.
Many animals are afraid of fireworks. If your pet is shivering, shaking, panting, salivating, yawning, stiff or trying to hide, they may be in distress. If your dog does crawl into a small space and hide, don’t reach for them as they may bite out of fear.
To keep your pet calm, try drowning out the noise by closing blinds and turning on the TV or music. Before the Fourth of July celebrations, try tiring your dog out so they won’t have as much energy when the noise comes. When it’s time for fireworks, keep them in a secure place inside, like a small room or kennel.
4. Stay protected from the summer sun
The July sun is no joke. Make sure to apply and frequently reapply, sunscreen on exposed skin. The higher the SPF, the better. Protect yourself even more by covering up in loose clothing, hats, sunglasses and avoid wearing dark colors. Stay hydrated throughout the day and leave water accessible for children and pets.
Keep pets out of the sun for long periods of time, our short-haired furry friends can get overheated and sunburnt skin as well.
5. Practice safe swimming
Before you put on that American flag swimsuit, you may want to make sure you’re taking the proper precautions for a safe swim. As always, don’t mix swimming and alcohol. Be sure to keep an eye on your friends and family. Be sure not to swim in an overcrowded pool, and keep a very close eye on children. Many apartment-complex pools do not provide a lifeguard on duty. Do not overwork yourself and stay in shallow areas if you are not a confident swimmer.
The Fourth of July is a chance to celebrate with great friends, food and fun–but don’t forget why we are celebrating. Show off your patriotism and praise the men and women who fight to keep our country independent. Respect our veterans on this day and do so safely and responsibly.
Happy Fourth of July!
Featured image courtesy of Clint Efird and Creative Commons.