Celebrating the Fourth of July, Safely

This Fourth of July – whether barbecuing in the backyard, enjoying a day at the ballpark or spreading a picnic blanket in the cool grass of a local park or on the hot sand of the beach – remember that a little safety goes a long way.

Start the day out right. Assemble a first aid kit – adding summer essentials such as sunscreen and insect repellent – and toss it in the picnic basket, beach bag or backpack before heading out. Then, take these simple precautions to make this Fourth of July the safest yet!

Kiss the Cook
Tying those apron strings can be a hefty responsibility, not just in facing a hungry crowd, but in exercising caution when using the tools of the trade. Avoid clothing with long or loose sleeves when working the grill, use chimney starters versus lighter fluid to ignite charcoal and never use an outdoor grill inside the house, a garage or on an apartment balcony. When using gas grills, remember to wipe down burners, clean ports and make sure valves are completely shut off when grilling is done.

What’s on the Menu?
According to a survey by the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, 76 percent of Americans consider the frankfurter the perfect food for the Fourth. Unfortunately, they also present a common choking risk – particularly for kids. Use care when giving hot dogs to children – cut them lengthwise and then into smaller pieces and supervise children while they eat.

Other food favorites that can pose a choking hazard include whole grapes, carrots cut on the diagonal and those ballpark staples, peanuts and popcorn. Learn to recognize the signs of choking and take precautions to prevent it.

Taking a Bite Out of You
The combination of warm sunshine and cool grass is a match made in heaven. With flowers in full bloom this time of year, parks are likely to be populated by winged creatures that are far from angelic if they bite or sting. Avoid walking barefoot in the grass, take time to review protection tips and avoid tick bites that can transmit Lyme disease.

Bugs aren’t the only ones biting this time of year. Be alert to avoid bites by things without wings, including dogs, cats and other animals such as snakes or even jellyfish, if the celebration venue is seaside. Be sure to treat bites promptly and appropriately based on type, watch for an allergic reaction and seek appropriate medical care.

Written by Leigh-Anne Dennison. Fireworks tips coming next!

(photo courtesy of sunsurfr)