Independence Day may look a little different this year and we suspect a lot of people will host their own outdoor parties rather than heading out to watch the main event in the sky. Whether you intend to barbecue in your backyard, shoot off your own fireworks, hang out on the boat, lounge in the pool or all of the above, safety needs to be top of mind on July 4.
At Bug Bite Thing, we feel part of being patriotic means also protecting yourself, your family and your friends. Here are six tips to have fun with your Fourth of July festivities while also keeping you free from danger on our nation’s birthday.
4th of July Safety Tips to Include in Independence Day Plans:
Practice fireworks safety.
The National Safety Council lays out a list of fireworks tips, and while many are common sense, they are worth reviewing. First and foremost, if you choose to set off your own fireworks, abide by your local laws. Be proactive by keeping a hose and fire extinguisher nearby, as well as a fire blanket, if available. The person igniting all your firecrackers and mini rockets should wear eye protection. If you have young children nearby who have sensory sensitivities or may be scared of loud sounds, be prepared with noise-canceling headphones. Once it’s go time, step back a safe distance and keep children as far away as possible. If the fireworks malfunction…give them some time! Do not re-approach right away and do not – under any circumstances – re-light them. The more precaution you take, the more you’ll be able to stand back and enjoy the beauty (and bang) of your work.
- Be cautious with sparklers.
It’s no secret that kids love sparklers, but these glittering little beams of light are not risk-free. Before you begin, talk to your children about how to properly use them. Teach them to hold one stick at a time, always away from their own body and others’, as well as far from any areas that can catch fire, such as around dried leaves, grass or even patio furniture. In case there is an accident, it’s best to wear close-toed shoes and clothing rather than a bathing suit that exposes more skin. Once the flame burns out, the stick remains hot, so as a best practice, we like to place them in a bucket of water rather than throwing in the trash. As an extra safety step for the youngest sparkler users, consider making your own hand protectors out of plastic cups. Simply poke a hole in the bottom of an empty cup, place the child’s hand inside the cup and insert the bottom of the sparkler into the hole, then light it and watch your kiddo’s eyes light up too.
Protect everyone from the elements.
Celebrating freedom on July 4th is more than just fireworks. The entire day is often spent outdoors and the dead heat of summer can bring additional risks. From sunburns to mosquito bites to scrapes from slippery pool decks, we recommend creating your own “party protection kit” in case of injury. Sunscreen and the Bug Bite Thing suction tool are musts for all of our outdoor activities, but general first-aid supplies are beneficial to have on hand at this holiday BBQ. Hats, sunglasses and sun protective clothing with UPF are suggested, as well as a hefty water bottle to help hydrate. And since this season seems to be especially crazy, if you are in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana or another area that surprisingly saw snow in June, keep all of this in mind…and bring a jacket for a potentially breezy night!
Keep an extra eye on your kids.
We know, this one seems self-explanatory, but big – and loud – holidays like this can lead to some momentary lapses in judgement, both for children and adults. Always always always make sure someone supervises kids around fireworks (including sparklers) and any bodies of water. If you’re on a boat, near a lake or ocean, having your child wear a lifejacket provides an extra layer of protection. If you are having more than a few people over at a pool party, consider hiring a lifeguard. Grills are another unexpected hazard during 4th of July barbecues, so consider a 3-foot “safe space” clear of children to keep little hands away from the flames. In the evening, it can help to have glowsticks and glow necklaces on hand for kids who may be partying with you in the driveway, front yard or anywhere close to moving vehicles. And remember, set a good example yourself; kids are watching!
Be mindful of your booze.
We understand beer and red, white and blue cocktails can be a fun addition to the 4th’s activities, but we urge everyone to keep the brews and booze under control. Alcohol and playing with fireworks do not mix well. And of course, do not drink and drive…and that includes “driving” any vehicle, even a boat, golf cart or bike.
Secure your pets.
Fourth of July is a scary and often unsafe day for pets. Many shelters see an increase in lost pets who take off from fear of fireworks and veterinary hospitals care for animals who have ingested all kinds of party objects. To keep pets safe on the 4th, make sure you’re prepared before the day’s events. Check on ID tags and microchips to ensure information is up to date and consult your vet on anti-anxiety measures for dogs and cats who may be especially scared of the festivities. On July 4, keep animals away from the hot grill and table since some of the food we consume is toxic for dogs and cats. Long before the fireworks begin, bring your pet inside to an escape-proof room and alert your guests to keep doors closed. Close curtains, give it a comforting toy and turn on the TV or music to mask outside noises. In short, be pet-triotic by caring for your furry friends!
We’re here to have a blast and know you are too! There’s nothing patriotic about shutting down your party early to attend to injuries, so to all our Bug Bite Thing friends, have a safe and happy Fourth of July!
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