Thursday, June 30, 2011

Safety First This Fourth of July

This weekend, we will observe our 235th year as an independent nation. That is a LOT of candles to blow out! Happy Birthday USA!! Americans love a reason to celebrate. And the birth of such a grand nation is a great reason to do so! While we are a young country, we are strong in our history and heritage. Our traditions have shaped our past and at the same time they influence our future.
One tradition for many families is the 4th of July backyard barbecue. Burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad and apple pie are on many Texan’s plates. And remember the sparklers too. Of course, all of these involve some form of heat. Whether it is from the grill, fireworks, or just the outside ambient temperature, July can be a dangerous month.
With all the distractions, keeping an eye on the children can be a challenge. They are fearless and without boundaries. I just returned from a week at the beach with my grandson. I am exhausted. One minute he was under the umbrella, the next he was running after the seagulls, and yet a split second later, he was splashing in a tide pool with the fish. So the question is: How do you grill the perfect burger, flip the hot dogs, apply the sunscreen, refill the iced tea, and blow out the 235 candles on the nation’s birthday cake while tending a toddler? The grill is a tempting touch point for little fingers. As are candles and snuffed out sparklers. The answer to the question is: Take turns watching the tot so everyone can participate in the celebration and commemoration of our countries birth. Here are a few other tips to help you and your families celebrate and safe and happy 4th of July!

· Don’t walk away from a hot grill
· Pick the right location: never grill indoors, and have the grill in a well ventilated area
· Never add charcoal starter fluid once the fire has started
· Keep a fireproof pan under the grill to catch the grease drippings
· Always have water to put out fires/sparklers
· Never point fireworks at anyone
· Don’t wear loose clothing next to the grill
· Dispose of coals properly, soaking them in water until the fire is completely out
· A clean grill prevents fire flare-ups
· If friends and family are driving to your party, remember to have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages on hand

MaryAnn Contreras, RN

Trauma Nurse/Injury Prevention Coordinator

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