Tips to make Independence Day safe for the entire family!
Quick tip: Avoid playing games with flying objects like baseballs, basketballs or Frisbees anywhere around the grill, torches or candles.
Everybody loves a good barbecue on 4th of July, but grilling can be dangerous if you aren't careful.
- Never grill indoors, in the garage, or under awnings, carports or any other surface that might catch fire.
- Always keep your grill away from siding, railings, trees and anything else flammable. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends using the grill at least 10 feet away from your home or any building.
- Skip the lighter fluid and instead use an electric or chimney lighter to light newspaper to start the charcoal.
- Check the tubes that lead into the burner for any blockage from grease or insects, and use a pipe cleaner to clear it.
- Check gas grill hoses for cracking, brittleness, holes and leaks. Make sure there are no sharp bends in the hose or tubing.
- Follow the manufacturers’ instructions to check for gas leaks. If you detect a leak or smell gas, don't attempt to light the grill until the leak is fixed by a qualified professional.
- Keep children well away from the grill area. Toddlers, preschoolers and even older kids who are busy playing can run into the grill without warning.
The 4th of July holiday is full of barbecues, picnics, family fun and fireworks. Unfortunately, the number of traffic accidents, injuries and deaths rises significantly on Independence Day too. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 4th of July is the deadliest day on roads across the U.S. with more than 700 people killed across the nation on those five holidays. Stay safe on 4th of July with these driving safety tips.
- Drink responsibly - If you are going to even have one drink on 4th of July, be sure to have a designated driver. Even if you think you are sober, your judgment and senses can be impaired after just one cocktail. If you can't find a designated driver, call a taxi. When you are driving, stay alert and keep an eye out for impaired drivers. Don't follow too closely and stay focused on the road and other vehicles, rather than chatting with friends and family in your car.
- Put down your cell phone - If you aren't sure of the directions or don't know where you are going on 4th of July, check your GPS before you leave the house. If you get lost, have a passenger in the vehicle make a call for directions or pull over to place the call, if you are alone. Distracted drivers fiddling with phone calls, text messages and navigation systems often are the cause of accidents.
- Stay home - No one says you have to go out on 4th of July. You can stay home and play host to a neighborhood block party where all your guests are within walking distance. Make it a potluck. Grill up your favorite meats and ask your neighbors to pitch in with all the sides, desserts and beverages.
To avoid sunburn and skin damage, picnic under a tree, read beneath an umbrella and take a canopy to the beach. As a rule of thumb, limit your time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when ultraviolet radiation peaks – and seek shade whenever possible. Infants six months old or younger should be kept out of direct sunlight altogether. For children over six months, use sunscreen liberally and be sure to reapply it at least every two hours.
Dress children in protective clothing, such as light cotton fabric with a tight weave and wide-brimmed hats (not baseball caps) that shade the face, scalp, neck and ears.
Choose a lotion instead of a spray. Sunscreen sprays pose inhalation risks and provide inadequate protection. If you must use a pump or spray, apply it to your hands first and then wipe it on your face and your children’s.
Avoid products that contain retinyl palmitate, a form of Vitamin A.
Select a sunscreen with an SPF greater than fifteen but less than 50.
Give your children quality sunglasses that provide 100 percent UVA and UVB protection.
Many families and groups of friends will gather around a table or blanket this weekend to enjoy a feast. Everyone wants to eat healthier, but it’s not always easy to know how. The produce least likely to have pesticide residues, including avocados, corn, pineapples, cabbage, sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, honeydew melon, grapefruit, cantaloupe and cauliflower.
If you plan to grill meat this summer, make sure to cook it to an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Hamburgers can turn brown before they reach a safe temperature. Always use a food thermometer to ensure that meat is cooked enough to kill potentially deadly E. coli bacteria.
Don’t leave perishable food – including cooked meat, potato salad, coleslaw and corn – at room temperature for more than two hours. Doing so can allow bacteria can grow to harmful levels. If the temperature outside reaches 90 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, refrigerate perishables within an hour.
Keep Your Pets Safe Too!
The long holiday weekend may be all flash and fun for us humans, but it’s terrifying and potentially dangerous for many of our pets.
The 4th of July leads to a big spike in missing pets, who panic and escape during the loud noises and flashes. It’s also a cause for many vet visits after pets accidentally ingest or are burned by curiously trying to sniff or paw at lit fireworks. Here are the 3 major risks to our pets this holiday, followed by 7 tips on how to keep your pets safe and sound:
Noise & Flashing Lights
The loud noises and bright lights can create anxiety in even typically calm pets. Some tremble or hide, while others run away—which isn’t the type of independence we want to celebrate. There’s a reason animal shelters all around the country experience a marked increase in lost pets during this holiday.
If your pet’s tags aren’t up to date or if she isn’t microchipped, now is a good time to make sure she has those tracking devices. You’ll also want to make sure all of your pet’s vaccinations, including rabies, are up to date should he get lost, taken to a shelter, or picked up by animal control.
Fireworks contain hazardous chemicals such as heavy metals, sulfur, potassium nitrate, and coloring agents which can be poisonous if ingested by pets, either before or after the fireworks are lit. Many fireworks also contain dense cardboard, which can result in intestinal blockages.
Some dogs have been known to think a tossed firecracker is an invitation to play fetch, or that even sparklers are something to paw at and nip. Lit fireworks can cause burns to the face, lips, inside of the mouth, nose, eyelids/eyes or paws.
So, given the emotional and potentially physical hazards of 4th of July for our pets, what’s the best way to keep them safe?
Keep your pets inside
As tempting as it may be to have your dog, especially, join you outside for the festivities, it’s just not worth the risk. Even if your dog is trained to stay by your side, the unexpected loud booms and flashes in the sky might make him bolt. Add the chaos of a crowd to the mix, and your pet’s anxiety level is likely to skyrocket.
- Keep your pets indoors, preferably in a secure room that’s a comfort zone for your pet.
- Be sure it’s not near a front or back door that may be left opened unintentionally when someone comes and goes, which would create an escape route.
- Some cats and dogs like to hide under a bed, while others feel safe in a crate with a soft blanket and chew toy. You could try draping a blanket over the top of the crate to muffle loud sounds and dim the flashes of light.
Follow these tips and you are bound to have a wonderful and safe holiday with your friends and family. We at Health Plan Partners want to wish you and yours a Happy 4th Of July, don't forget to have fun too!
For more health and wellness tips, visit us at: