4th of July Safety

July 1, 2014


Family, friends, food and fireworks – Fourth of July is America’s holiday to celebrate our freedom and patriotism. For many, the traditions remain generation after generation. Backyard barbeques, watching fireworks and spending a long weekend together mark one of summer’s most memorable holidays. This year, keep your family safe with these simple tips:

Safe Swimming

Every day an average of 10 people die from unintentional drowning, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Males are most at risk, accounting for approximately 80 percent of drowning deaths. Children between the ages of 1 and 4 have the highest drowning rates. While it is always parents’ intention to watch their children while swimming or around a pool or body of water, it is easy to get distracted when people come together for the holiday. To help prevent drowning, never swim alone and always make sure at least one adult supervises children swimming. Do not overcrowd pools with too many people or pool toys. When boating, children need to wear a life vest.

Fireworks Safety

During the month of July, an average of 240 people go to the Emergency Department each day with injuries suffered from fireworks. Amarillo is under a partial fireworks ban. That means that unless you live outside the city limits, fireworks are not allowed. If you live within an approved area to set off fireworks, never let children handle them alone. Keep children a safe distance away when igniting fireworks. Experts say to avoid buying fireworks wrapped or packaged in brown paper. This usually indicates they were originally designed for professional use only. Click here for more tips to stay safe when handling and igniting fireworks, including information on how hot sparklers can get. 

Food Safety

Backyard barbeques just aren’t the same without burgers and hotdogs. In addition to that open flame, they can prove to be dangerous if the proper precautions are not taken. Never leave a lit grill unattended and make sure children and pets stay at least three feet away. When cooking, heat meat to the proper temperature to help prevent foodborne illness.  For more information on cooking temperatures and how long it is safe to leave food out, visitFoodsafety.gov.

Outdoor Safety

Summer is a great time for exploring, but it is also the time of year when pesky insects come out of hiding. If you will be spending time in heavily wooded or tall grassy areas, help protect yourself from ticks and mosquitos with repellant containing at least 30 percent DEET. Wear long-sleeves, light colors and a hat. When you come indoors, check clothing, gear and pets for ticks. It is also a good idea to shower.

Stay Hydrated

Are you drinking enough water this summer? To find out how much you should be drinking divide your weight by two. When the temperatures heat up, we are more likely to get dehydrated – especially if the humidity is high. Keep a water bottle with you throughout the day. You may add fruits or vegetables like cucumber slices to naturally flavor your water. Drinking plenty of fluids can help prevent heat stroke or heat exhaustion. Anyone suffering from heart disease or other chronic health conditions should limit exposure to the heat.

Keep the sunscreen applied throughout the day whether you are swimming, grilling or out on a family hike. Be safe and enjoy your Fourth of July.