Well, we’re halfway through 2010, and ready to celebrate our country’s birthday!  As everyone knows, July 4th marks “Independence Day”, which commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence.  There will be parades, ballgames, picnics, cookouts, and all types of fun.  But before you get ready to celebrate, we want to remind you that the Fourth of July weekend usually has the highest numbers of injuries and emergency room visits of any holiday, (around 10,000), according to the Centers for Disease Control.  The majority of the injuries are due to the misuse of fireworks, and many are children under age 15.  So, let’s talk a little about safety, so you can enjoy the rest of the summer! 

First, here are some fireworks safety tips:

  • Have adult supervision at all times where children are present around fireworks.
  • Read the labels and follow instructions carefully.
  • Keep water close by, as conditions may be dry, and could easily start a fire.
  • Be sure projectile-type fireworks are not aimed near anyone standing close by.
  • Keep a safe distance.
  • Remember that even sparklers can reach a heat of 2,000° F.
  • Never carry fireworks in your pocket. 

The National Fire Protection Association reports that more fires are reported on the Fourth of July than on any other day.  Fireworks account for more than one-half of those fires.  Let’s try to give our local firemen a break. 

If you have toddlers and you attend an outdoor activity where there’s a large crowd, keep these safety ideas in mind: get your little ones accustomed to holding hands.  Some parents use a child leash, which may look a little cruel, but in a crowded area, keeps them close at hand.  I’ve seen them used often in airports, which allows parents to take care of traveling arrangements while knowing their youngster is right there. Strollers are an ideal way to be sure they are safe.  Children too large for a stroller need to be watched closely; they can disappear in the blink of an eye.  

Also, keep in mind that your pets may not enjoy this particular holiday, especially the noise from fireworks.  An example of their sensitivity to sound: if you hear a radio at a distance of 50’ away, your dog will hear the same radio, same volume from a distance of 200’.  It might be a good idea to leave them at home, with a television or radio left on, to calm them down while you are enjoying the festivities. 

Many of you will be spending the holiday around a lake or river.  There’s always the danger of drowning, so be attentive to swimmers, and wear those life jackets while in a boat.  Anyone driving a boat should be responsible for the welfare of themselves and others.  The same goes for driving.  Drink responsibly.  Abide by the laws of your state in regard to driving a car or boat. 

Have a wonderful time and stay safe.  Remember our troops who can’t be home for the Fourth of July!  May God Bless them and our country.  Happy Birthday, America!