Stay safe this Independence Day with these essential tips from 3MD | THREE MOMMY DOCTORS™.
Nothing feels like summer more than the 4th of July. Barbeques and fireworks make for some of the best family memories. But while this may be one of the most anticipated days of the summer, we, as emergency physicians, brace ourselves for the unfortunate accidents and injuries that inevitably come along with it.
Here’s how to make sure you and your loved ones have a safe and injury-free holiday:
There’s actually no such thing as “safe fireworks” for children. Even the most seemingly harmless fireworks (including sparklers) can land your child in the ER. Most injuries involve the face, eyes and hands, with over 50% of these injuries being burns. The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show put on by professionals.
In the event that someone is lighting fireworks at home, follow these safety tips:
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before purchasing.
- Never allow children to touch or ignite fireworks. Even sparklers burn at temperatures high enough to melt some metals.
- Never throw or point a firework toward another person.
- Wear eye protection when lighting fireworks.
- Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight a firework.
- Keep a bucket of water or hose nearby, as a precaution.
- Be sure to thoroughly wet any previously detonated fireworks, before throwing them away.
The 4th of July is synonymous with grilling, however, every year thousands of people are injured while using backyard charcoal or gas grills. The biggest danger stems from home fires caused by grilling, and close to half of all injuries involving grills are due to thermal burns.
Follow these simple steps to safely cook up treats at your backyard BBQ:
- Never leave a grill unattended while in use, and be mindful of grilling while drinking alcohol.
- Never grill indoors – not in your house, camper, tent, or any other enclosed area.
- Make sure everyone, including small children and pets, stays away from the grill. And do not leave a hot lid on the ground where a child may inadvertently touch it.
- Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire.
- Use long-handled tools especially made for grilling, with heat-resistant handles.
- Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
- Avoid grease buildup. Keep grills clean and well maintained.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Most children can hardly contain their excitement for the day’s outdoor activities — and who can blame them? The park, the beach, the pool and the pinnacle neighborhood block party are soon to be abuzz with revelry. But before letting them run off to their next 4th of July adventure, be aware that all of these locations have the potential to harbor hot surfaces caused by the sun’s rays. Contact with these surfaces can actually burn a child’s skin within seconds.
- Wear shoes when walking along sand, wooden boardwalks, concrete or asphalt that has been baking for hours in the summer sun.
- Test the playground equipment, such as metal slides, before allowing your child to play on them in the middle of the day.
- Patio furniture, outdoor fire pits and even pool drain covers have been known to cause severe burns. Keep children off and away from any equipment that has had excessive exposure to the sun.
Make this 4th of July one to remember for the right reasons. Use caution when handling any fireworks, or better yet, opt to attend a professional fireworks show instead. Avoid grilling near anything that can potentially cause a fire, and be mindful that playground equipment and common surfaces can become burn hazards when heated by the sun. Don’t forget to protect your family from the summer heat by reapplying sunblock, staying hydrated, and using good judgment if drinking alcohol. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can help ensure that you and your family can enjoy this holiday — outside of the ER.
~ 3MD | THREE MOMMY DOCTORS™, three board-certified emergency physicians. Treating your kids like we treat our own.™
The information contained on this post is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. It is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient and his/her physician. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.