Tips for Safely Celebrating the Fourth of July With Your Family Thursday, July 2, 2015

Leah Shoval, RN, BSN at Children’s Pediatricians & Associates Capitol Hill, shares some tips on how you and your family can safely celebrate the 4th of July this year.

Splash! Boom! Bash! 

The National Safety Council has deemed the 4th of July the most dangerous holiday of the year. So before going outside to celebrate this weekend, be sure that you and your family avoid some of the hidden dangers of the holiday, and are set to celebrate the wonderment of the summer and fireworks safely. 

Fireworks: Hearing Loss, Fear, and Panic 

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in five American teens suffer some type of hearing loss from various causes. Noise from fireworks can reach decibel levels higher than 155 dB if sitting close to the blasts. To limit dangers of hearing loss, fear, and panic from the blasts, ensure you and your family: 

  • Sit more than 500 feet from where fireworks are launched. If your child tells you his/her ears are buzzing or ringing, it’s a sign that you should move farther away. 
  • Bring earplugs for every family member over 7 years old, and use child-sized ear muffs for your smaller children and babies. Earmuffs are known to effectively reduce dangerous levels of noise on babies as young as six weeks old. 
  • Comfort and reassure your frightened child, and be prepared to make a quick getaway if that doesn’t work. Alternatively, plan to watch the show from your car or a rooftop deck so that a scared little one has somewhere safe to go inside. 

Food Safety at a Barbeque

  • Use soap and water to clean all surfaces, utensils, and hands. 
  • Use different plates for raw vs. cooked foods – do not put that perfectly grilled burger back on the same platter where you prepped before cooking.  
  • Use a food thermometer to be sure you have cooked your food to a safe temperature. Burgers should be cooked to 160° Fahrenheit. 
  • Bring plenty of ice or cold packs for your cooler. Do not leave food at room temperature for longer than two hours (one hour if outdoor temperatures spike above 90° Fahrenheit). 

Crowd Safety

  • Talk to your children about stranger safety.
  • Make a plan to meet up or stay put throughout the event. 
  • If lost, teach your children to find a security or police officer, or if they cannot spot someone immediately, to find another parent who has children with them, and ask her for help.
  • Tag your children using a temporary tattoo, a bracelet, or a sharpie with your emergency contact information.

Have a safe and happy 4th of July! 


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