The Independence holiday weekend is upon us. We all have various activities scheduled for the weekend, which could include cookouts, picnics, boating, swimming, motor sports, work around the house, etc. No matter what you have planned, please make safety a part of your weekend. Make your weekend an enjoyable weekend and not a weekend of tragedy. Be careful with the lighter fluid, wear that life vest, be careful on the ladder . . . you know what to do. Take an extra moment and ensure that everything you are doing is being done safely.
Six Tips for Summertime Safety!
Please note: Due to the current COVID-19 Pandemic, we strongly recommend and encourage everyone to follow local guidelines regarding gatherings, events and activities. Some of the information below may not apply in the same fashion during this specific season with the pandemic, but the principles still apply and are prudent for summertime safety.
1. Pool Safety: Keep an Eye on Swimmers
You should always supervise weaker swimmers around water. Try appointing someone as lifeguard, rather than assuming one of your party-goers is keeping an eye on swimmers. Make sure younger children are within arm’s reach in the pool, and never drink alcohol while swimming or supervising swimmers. Keep a watchful eye on drink coolers. As the ice melts, these items can become a drowning hazard for curious toddlers who look in the cooler and are unable to get themselves out.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death behind car crashes. Nonfatal drowning injuries can result in serious, long-term brain damage. Males own 80% of drowning fatalities and children ages 1-4 have the highest drowning rate.
2. Stay Safe Under the Sun
There’s no better feeling than soaking in the new summer sun on the weekend — but don’t forget sunscreen. Skin can become severely burned after just a few hours in the sun, which can increase your risk of skin cancer in the long run. Also, consider providing shade, like umbrellas or covered picnic areas, to reduce sun exposure for yourself and your guests. A hat and sunglasses can offer extra coverage. Don’t forget to reapply the sunscreen after two hours of sun exposure.
Unlike a thermal burn, sunburn is not immediately apparent. By the time the skin starts to become painful and red the damage has been done. The pain is worst between 6 and 48 hours after sun exposure. Severely sunburned skin may blister. Edema (swelling), especially in the legs, is not uncommon, as is fever. (American Burn Association)
3. Fire and Grill Safety for Your Meal
Hot dogs, hamburgers, and corn on the cob: These summertime staples are traditionally cooked up on a grill outside. But before you break out the grill, make sure it has been thoroughly cleaned. Dirty grills cause many injuries, particularly propane grills. Keep items that you don’t want grilled away from the flame, and don’t wear loose clothing while you grill. Keep grills away from areas where children are playing. After your barbecue is over, make sure coals are completely out, and the propane is turned off.
Children under five accounted for an average of 2,000 or 39%, of the contact-type burns per year. These burns typically occurred when someone, often a child, bumped into, touched or fell on the grill, grill part or hot coals. (NFPA Grilling Safety)
4. Drink Responsibly
Alcohol might be a part of your summer weekend celebration. If so, decide in advance how much alcohol you are going to be drinking, and stick to your plan. If you are driving, do not drink and drive. Elect a designated driver or find alternate transportation home. Drinking alcohol dehydrates the body, which can be worsened by an afternoon in the sun. Consume plenty of water in addition to your beverage of choice and don’t drink on an empty stomach.
On July 4th, America celebrates the birth of our nation. Sadly, the holiday is often marked as one of the deadliest of the year for drunk-driving crashes. In fact, 812 people died in crashes involving drunk drivers during the Fourth of July holiday period from 2014-2018.
5. Use Extra Caution with Fireworks
Nothing wraps up an extended weekend party better than a blazing fireworks display. Some towns and cities allow for select smaller fireworks to be enjoyed at home. If that’s the case, follow your local laws about what kind of fireworks are permitted. (Always follow local laws and guidelines regarding fireworks purchase and use.)
Fireworks should be lit outside in an area without flammable branches or grass. Have a water hose or bucket of water handy to extinguish spent fireworks. After you light a firework, get away to a safe distance. Don’t try to hold a firework in your hand after it’s lit, and do not light it into a container of any kind. Only responsible adults should light fireworks. Always ensure they are safely disposed of after the fun is over.
In 2017, eight people died and over 12,000 were injured badly enough to require medical treatment after fireworks-related incidents. Of these, 50% of the injuries were to children and young adults under age 20. Additionally, fireworks start an average of 18,500 fires each year, including 1,300 structure fires, 300 vehicle fires and nearly 17,000 other fires. (National Safety Council)
6. Holiday Traveling
If you’re traveling this weekend, be extra careful on the road. Many people will be out and about with many things other than driving on their mind. Keep safety in mind at all times.
The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates 405 people may die on U.S. roads this Independence Day holiday period. Holidays traditionally are a time of travel for families across the United States. Many choose car travel, which has the highest fatality rate of any major form of transportation based on fatalities per passenger mile. Holidays are also often a cause for celebrations involving alcohol consumption, a major contributing factor to motor-vehicle crashes.