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The Fourth of July is a time of family gatherings and festivities. The weekend often includes cookouts, poolside fun and colorful fireworks displays. It is around these activities that we want to take extra caution and keep family and friends safe. The National Safety Council reports that the Fourth of July is one of the deadliest holidays in the United States. Accidents and injuries account for over 11,500 injuries and nearly 100 deaths on that day alone.

“We tend to let our guard down during these summer holidays. The incidence of accidents increases in recreational settings due to the mix of increased alcohol use, fireworks and increased travel,” said Dr. Gautam Desai, DO, Chair of Primary Care and Professor at Kansas City University.

Dr. Desai encourages five ways to enjoy the fun while keeping you and your family safe.

Dr. Desai’s Fast Five:

  1. Consider attending a professional firework show – look up nearby displays and take lawn chairs or blankets to watch instead of handling fireworks yourself.
  2. Keep a watchful eye on children at all times. Do not allow children to handle any fireworks. Instead, make watching into a game by guessing which colors or shapes will be next on display.
  3. Seek shade and wear sunscreen – the sun’s rays are still strong mid to late afternoon when we are gathering for picnics so apply and re-apply to avoid sunburn and skin damage.
  4. Drink plenty of water. It is easy to become dehydrated when you are in the heat for extended times.
  5. Do not touch. Fireworks can stay hot enough to burn up to 30 minutes after the display. Douse with water before picking up any used fireworks. If you do your own fireworks, be sure to wear safety goggles, keep a bucket of water and garden hose nearby, and be aware of flammable items nearby.

Remember these tips and you can help ensure that your Fourth of July weekend is filled with fun and happy memories, rather than accidents and injuries. Let’s all have a safe and celebratory holiday!