Ask the BayCare Clinic Specialist: Enjoy a safe and healthy Independence Day
Mon, Jun 29, 2020
Question: My family and I have a busy Fourth of July planned. Do you have tips for keeping my family safe?
Answer: Yes, there are tips you and your family can follow to help stay safe while participating in any July Fourth festivities. Whether you’re celebrating with fireworks, a cookout, camping, or taking a trip to the beach, we want you to have fun, but also stay healthy and safe.
Fireworks safety is one of the biggest concerns during the Fourth of July. The best way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public show staged by professionals. But if you are lighting your own fireworks at home, make sure you follow common sense safety practices. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests you:
- Don’t allow children to play with or light fireworks and always have an adult supervise fireworks.
- Never place any part of your body directly over fireworks 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 a fire or other accident.
- Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
The most common injuries from fireworks are burns to the hands and face and eye injuries. In 2015, almost 12,000 firework-related injuries were treated in emergency rooms, according to the CPSC. They’re most common in children and young adults.
If you do get burned, use cool water or ice on the affected area. Get to an emergency room if the pain intensifies beyond what you can control with Tylenol or ibuprofen, the burns are significant or are on more than five percent of the body, or are on the face or eyes.
If you’re planning on grilling, stay alert around your charcoal or gas grill. Check gas grills for cracks, holes, or leaks and never leave your grill unattended. Keep the grill out in the open, and at least two feet away from the house, deck, and trees. Remember food safety when grilling and cook all food to the proper temperature before serving. Dispose of perishable foods left outside for more than two hours.
For those taking a trip to a beach, exercise caution. Before going in the water, set water safety rules for your family. Know how to swim and only swim in designated areas. If you’re boating, wear life jackets and never consume alcohol while driving a boat.
I want your holiday week to be memorable and fun. Make the most of time spent with family and friends, and as parents, keep an eye on the little ones. By keeping safety in mind, you’ll be sure to enjoy all the festivities the Fourth of July offers.
Dr. Nels Rose is an emergency medicine physician with BayCare Clinic. He sees patients in Green Bay, Oshkosh and Two Rivers.