How Not to Die on 4th of July

Happy 4th of July everyone! What better way to celebrate our country than firing up the grill, splashing around in the pool and of course lighting off some fireworks? And, okay maybe the title of this blog is a little dramatic, but there’s nothing to end a glad day faster than a trip to the emergency room on a national holiday. We’re bringing you some tips on how to have fun and stay safe on the 4th this year!Template-Post-Header-768x261

Grilling

When the sun goes out, why not cook outside? Grilling is an excellent way to get people together to enjoy some delicious food. There are some things to keep in mind while using this big, hot piece of metal to grill, though. It’s especially pleasant to remember these things when there are so many distractions around.

Before anything else, make sure you check the hoses for any leaks or cracks

Designate someone that will attend the grill at all times, or that can pass the responsibility on to someone else

Make sure small kids and animals stay away from the grill

Never grill indoors! Even in the garage

Keep the grill at least 2 feet away from the wall and anything flammable

After you’re done using the grill, turn it off and make sure to clean it to prevent build up and clogging in the tubes

Food Temperature

While grilling and eating outdoors, it’s especially important to make sure the food is in the right temperature to prevent bacteria and sickness. Nobody wants food poisoning at a social gathering! Most meat should be cooked to at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Refrigerated items like potato salad should be kept below 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures between 41 and 135 degrees Fahrenheit are seen as the “danger zone” for bacteria and shouldn’t be eaten.

Swimming

It seems like swimming is always a part of 4th of July. It’s usually a burning day and swimming is a chance to cool off (especially if you were the one doing all that grilling) and splash around with the kids. Whether you’re headed to the pool to float around or to the ocean to catch some waves, we have some tips to bear in mind to keep everyone safe.

At the Pool

Swimming in the pool is safer in some ways than swimming in open water. Swimmers are in a contained space where others can (and should) take care of them, and you don’t have to worry about the natural elements taking over like waves and varying depths. Somethings to keep in mind while swimming in the pool:

Kids should always have adult supervision

Never swim alone

Always swim sober

Don’t dive in shallow water

We have a huge article, “Backyard Pool Safety”, that goes more in depth and explains your options for protecting others, especially kids, when you have a pool in your backyard.

At the Beach

All of the above precautions also apply to swimming at the beach. You need to know that someone keeps an eye on the swimmer, and those who chose to drink don’t swim. Diving is also a question in the ocean because of the typical gradual decline into deeper waters. If you’re jumping from a higher surface like a rock, you wish to be absolutely sure the water is deep enough before you jump.

Another element of ocean swimming is rip currents, which can be very dangerous. If someone is trapped in a rip current, he or she should swim parallel to the beach until they escape. He or she should then swim back to shore, or back-float if they are too tired. Rip currents usually occur in lower places, so just try to stay away from piers and jetties while swimming in the ocean.

The Coast Guard explains to swim parallel to the shore to escape a rip current

Sun Protection

Our previous blog article, “Tanning: The Good, The Bad and The Dangerous”, goes in depth about protecting yourself from the sun and the dangers of indoor tanning, but here we’ll share some tips the FDA gives for skin protection from the sun:

Limit time in the sun between 10 am and 2 pm (when the sun’s rays are the strongest)

Wear clothing to cover skin

Use sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher

Reappear every 2 hours or more often if you’re swimming/sweating

The FDA recommends to a sunscreen with at least 50 SPF. Get this one from Target.

As far as preventing heat exhaustion and heat stroke:

Make sure you’re drinking enough water, even if you don’t feel thirsty

Take breaks from the heat often

Symptoms of heat stroke include high body temperature, nausea and vomiting, high heart rate, confusion, irritability and delirium. The victim may not be sweating if the heat stroke is due to stormy weather.

Fireworks

4th of July is the biggest firework day of the year! Americans use around 285 million pounds of fireworks each year on Independence Day alone. There’s nothing like watching a giant firework show with friends and family after a day of celebrating, or lighting them off on your own in the streets. With that being said, though, nearly 70% of fireworks related injuries happen within a month of this holiday. Like all the other topics we’ve covered in this blog post, there are just a few precautions to take in order to make sure you have an enjoyable experience.

If you’re watching a big firework show, set up camp at least 500 ft away from where they are lighting off

Whoever is lighting the fireworks should wear eye protection

Only light one at a time and don’t try to re-light ones that didn’t go off

Don’t point the fireworks at anyone or anything

Keep water on hand just in case

Only light fireworks if you’re sober

It’s recommended to stay at least 500 ft away from where the fireworks are being lit.

Now that you know all things safe for the 4th, go enjoy it! Follow our tips and you’ll be able to avoid a lot of potential injuries and have a good time with friends and family celebrating Independence Day. Whether you’re grilling up a storm, spending the day in the water, watching an epic firework show, or all three, has a fun 4th of July!

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