Saturday is the 4th of July, which means celebration. Whether your family has been stocking up on firecrackers and Roman candles, or you’re getting ready to head out to the lake for the weekend, Independence Day provides plenty of opportunities for fun. However, a holiday that is celebrated by blowing up packets made of black powder and chemical compounds also brings a plethora of safety hazards. Here are some things to keep in mind to help safely celebrate this 4th of July.
According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks send an average of 240 people to the emergency room every July. The most common areas of the body to be injured are:
- Hands and fingers 36%
- Head, face, and ears 22%
- Eyes 16%
- Trunk & other 7%
- Arms 5%
You safest bet is to take your family to a public display of fireworks and leave the dangerous parts to the professionals. There are plenty of options in Northwest Arkansas!
If you’re determined to have your own fireworks at home, be sure not to allow children to play with fireworks, to light them, or even to clean them up after the show. To avoid an unwanted trip to the ER this 4th of July, follow these safety tips for adults when lighting fireworks:
- Never buy illegal or unlabeled fireworks, which are often much more dangerous that legally-produced versions.
- Follow the instructions on the packaging.
- Light one firecracker at a time, and never try to relight one that hasn’t gone off.
- Never hold a firework with a lit fuse or lean over the fireworks with any part of your body.
- Don’t point fireworks directly at people.
- Be mindful of where you place fireworks. Don’t set them off near structures or under trees.
- Check for burn bans in your area before setting off fireworks
- Keep a water bucket close in case of fire. Soak fireworks in the bucket before throwing them away.
And don’t forget your pets — animals may be very frightened of fireworks, and might be better off indoors.
Fireworks get all of the attention on Independence Day, but there are other 4th of July safety hazards to be aware of. Here are some things to consider if you’re going to be celebrating the Fourth on the water.
- If you’re on the lake or river, be sure to wear a life vest or have a life preserver handy.
- Don’t let children swim unsupervised.
- Drink responsibly. Excessive alcohol consumption impairs judgement and hinders motor skills. Alcohol increases the likelihood of drowning.
A big family feast is a Fourth of July staple. Crispy fried chicken, heaps of potato salad, the smell of apple pie wafting through the air, and ice cold watermelon just can’t be beat. However, don’t leave your wonderful picnic sitting out in the sun all day long. Bacteria can cultivate in food that is left out, causing food poisoning.
As always, be sure to stay hydrated and put on sunscreen. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!