At first, when I heard that July 4th fell on a Saturday this year, I was pretty bummed that I wouldn't get that extra day off of work. Then I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I checked my iPhone calendar to see that Friday, July 3rd, said "Independence Day, Observed." Now the Fourth is less than a week away and everyone is planning out where they're going to watch fireworks, which pool or beach they're going to spend the day at and what's going to be on the grill for dinner that night.
I read the other day that during the month surrounding the 4th of July, an average of 230 people end up in the emergency room daily with fireworks-related injuries. I don't know about you, but I think that is INSANE, not to mention completely avoidable. So with that, here are a few fireworks safety tips from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for those who prefer to take the DIY route rather than leaving the pyrotechnics to the professionals.
- Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
- Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
- Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don't realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees - hot enough to melt some metals.
- Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
- Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
- Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
- Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
- After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
- Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them
And with temperatures reaching up through the 90s (and definitely feeling more like the 100s, am I right?), hydration and sun protection are majorly important, especially if the weather permits a pool party or a beach day to celebrate the holiday. Professionals recommend sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher, sunglasses that protect from UVA and UVB rays, a hat that covers the head, face and back of the neck and if your little ones are spending the day outside, keep their shoulders covered (there are some fun swim shirts out there to help with this!)
Finally, everyone knows the key to a good party is awesome snacks. For a day as full as the 4th, you'll want to keep it nutritious and there's a way to do that while keeping it fun and using the red, white and blue! Slice up some strawberries and bananas, grab some blueberries, and arrange them kebab-style to show your patriotic side with a fruity and easy American flag. It also makes it quick and simple to switch these fruits out for any other of a similar color in case you have some picky eaters or food allergies on your hands.
Have a fun and safe 4th of July, everyone!!!