Excitement is part of the deal on July 4 weekend, but our safety – and the safety of family and loved ones – depends on care. We can’t afford to let excitement make us careless, because the hazards we face are multiplied during this brief, colorful, exciting piece of the year.

Not the Biggest Hazard We Face, Nor the First

On average, 280 people go to the emergency room with fireworks-related injuries every day for the whole month surrounding the Fourth of July weekend. More than half these injuries are burns, and a frequent source is the form of fireworks that most of us think of as kid-friendly. Sparklers burn hotter than 1,000-degrees Fahrenheit, and yet most families think of them as entry-level fireworks, watching the youngest wave them around as the evening grows dark.

And this is just one lesson in how the hazards are not necessarily where we think they are. Driving to reach our July 4 weekend plans is to fireworks as the drive to the airport is to air travel, much more dangerous than the plane ride itself. In fact, auto accident deaths and injuries far outweigh the flashy dangers of fireworks. More people die from car crashes on July 4 itself than on any other day of the year.

Plan your route and time of day to minimize your exposure to traffic. Stay off the mobile device, and make sure the children are occupied so you can drive without distraction. And here’s one time to follow those children’s leads – the younger generation is much more careful about having designated drivers than we were. Yes, many still are careless, but the idea that drinking and driving is not cool is out there, working in our favor. As parents, we owe that idea our complete encouragement.

The Dangers that Don’t Go Bang

Still more July 4 hazards have nothing to do with fireworks. It’s an outdoor holiday, so sunscreen for the whole family should become a tradition, if it is not already.

Make sure your gas grill is operating properly and take care with that fuel. Folks who rarely grill at any other time cookout for the July 4th holiday, so let’s face it, skills are suspect. Fire safety is basic, and we may have drifted away from understanding its urgency.

Let’s refresh our memories about water safety, too. Water sports are widespread for Fourth of July. Even here near the coast, these may not be skills that some of us use very much through the year. Let’s refresh our memories about safety in swimming and boating. And let’s make sure our guests from inland are briefed about them too.

And the Ones That Do

For most us, this is the only time of the year we handle fireworks, so extra caution is called for. The first thing to know is that there are no safe fireworks. Even sparklers can cause disfiguring injuries, and 10% of all fireworks injuries come from sparklers. More and more, people are realizing that it’s better to be a spectator, and leave the fireworks to the pros at a public display.

Speaking of professionals, your family could use a professional ally for health and well-being all through the year, and we would like to offer that service to you. Call us at 843-815-6468.