With 4th of July just around the corner, many people are excited to celebrate the country’s independence with friends and family. Large gatherings however come with a natural worry about staying safe when it comes to fireworks, grills, coronavirus, and even pools.
Check out these Fourth of July safety tips below to fun and healthy holiday weekend.
Epidemiologists and public health experts are optimistic about the Fourth of July in areas with high vaccination rates.
"It depends a lot on how much we can get people vaccinated before then," Dr. Anne Liu, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, California, told TODAY. "In communities where vaccination rates are really high, I think that it is much more feasible that life could look pretty normal by July."
Most experts agree that while any social gathering is never entirely safe, it is reasonable to congregate outdoors and have a good time.
While kids aged 12 to 15 can currently get the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, children under the age of 12 are still unable to get vaccinated. Children keep their masks on inside and go unmasked but keep some distance from other unvaccinated children while outside.
Fireworks, a symbol and tradition of the holiday, can also be dangerous if not used properly. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Fireworks were involved in an estimated 10,000 injuries and 12 deaths in the United States in 2019.
The Red Cross recommends never giving fireworks to small children and making sure a firework is never pointed at a person, animal, structure, vehicle, or anything flammable. Additionally, the person lighting the firework should always wear eye protection and keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
The Fourth of July is the perfect holiday to enjoy the nice weather by the grill. The Red Cross however reports that grilling fires spark more than 10,000 home fires on average each year in the United States.
To avoid any injuries, the grill should always be supervised when it is in use. Anyone operating the grill should avoid using charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited.
Grilling should also never be done indoors, including a house, camper, tent, or any enclosed area. A grill should only be used outside with plenty of space to ventilate properly. Anyone who is not operating the grill should keep their distance, especially children and pets.
Warmer weather means enjoying time near a pool, lake, ponds, and other open areas of water where kids are at risk of drowning. With less access to lifeguarded aquatic facilities this summer and a current shortage of lifeguards around the country, be sure children who are planning on taking a dip have adequate swimming skills to reduce any risk of potential injury.
Designate one “water watcher” whose sole responsibility is to supervise people during any in-water activity until the next person takes over. Kiddie or inflatable pools can be a great and safe way to cool off as well. Be sure to drain the water and flip it over after swim time is over.