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Make it red, white and safe: Fourth of July safety tips

Make it red, white and safe: Fourth of July safety tips
Does your family have a favorite Independence Day tradition? Whether you like to attend a public firework show or hold a backyard BBQ, celebrate safely this year with these Fourth of July safety tips.

The Fourth of July holiday provides ample opportunities to celebrate and spend time with friends and family, but it also provides some significant health hazards.

That’s why it’s important to tackle the holiday with safety in mind. These tips from the West Jefferson Medical Center team are a good place to begin.

Make the boom the scariest part of fireworks

The Fourth of July is synonymous with fireworks, with many cities hosting a fireworks display. Attending a public show is the best and safest way to enjoy fireworks.

Fireworks are prohibited in many parts of Jefferson Parish, including unincorporated areas. If they’re allowed where you are and you plan to light fireworks, be sure to do so safely. These are the fireworks safety basics:

  • Don’t allow young children to handle fireworks.
  • Keep pets away from where fireworks are being set off.
  • Never throw or point a firework toward a person, pet or anything flammable.
  • Light only one firework at a time.
  • Stay a safe distance away from fireworks after they’re lit.
  • Keep buckets of water nearby in case objects catch fire.

Looking for a way to light up your kids’ world without involving fireworks? Simple glow sticks can be a fun and safe way to add a little celebratory flair!

Keep things safe on the water

Swimming and boating are also common activities on the Fourth of July. If your day will involve water in any way, make sure you’re in the know about water safety basics:

  • Never swim alone.
  • Provide close and constant supervision for any children near water.
  • Safeguard backyard pools by surrounding them with a gated fence that’s secure enough so kids and pets stay out.
  • Have kids and adults who aren’t strong swimmers wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.
  • Swim near a lifeguard whenever possible.
  • If thunder roars, head indoors—and stay there for at least 30 minutes after the last lightning flash.
  • When boating, carefully follow the rules and regulations for the body of water you’re on.

Practice food safety basics

Planning up a Fourth of July barbecue or a picnic? Include food safety in your plans.

Any time you’re eating outdoors in the heat of summer, you need to take special precautions to ensure your food stays safe. The last thing you want is a bout of food poisoning to ruin your holiday celebration!

Start with these basics:

  • If you’re planning to barbecue, be sure to do so outdoors. Using a grill indoors can expose you to dangerous fumes and increase the risk of a fire.
  • Wash your hands before preparing the food or eating it.
  • Keep raw meat separate from other food and use different utensils when handling it before it’s cooked and after it’s cooked.
  • Be sure that meat is cooked to a safe temperature before serving. (That’s 160 F for hamburgers and 165 F for hotdogs in case you were wondering!)
  • Once the food is prepared, eat it and then store it away. Don’t leave food out in the sun.
  • Perishable foods should be kept in a cooler filled with ice or in the refrigerator once the meal is done.

Enjoy your Fourth of July with plenty of fun, family and food—and stay safe!

Even the best of precautions isn’t enough to prevent every injury. If you have a bad burn or a wound that just won’t heal, turn to the Wound Care Center at West Jefferson Medical Center.