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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Larriviere Kizziar

Safety First for the Fourth: How To Have An Enjoyable Independence Day

The 4th of July is a cherished time to celebrate with family, from spirited backyard games to the delightful aroma of sizzling barbecues. But amidst the celebrations, there are many opportunities for anxiety-inducing safety concerns. Add in the stress of making every holiday magical, and many moms are feeling like a red, white and blue tinderbox. Baby, you’re a firework. But it doesn’t have to be that way!

By following a few simple guidelines, you can ensure your family has a safe and enjoyable 4th of July holiday. We asked Ema for ideas to celebrate the 4th and paired them with safety tips from the Red Cross and ADT to make sure your Independence Day plans are filled with happy memories instead of a trip to the local urgent care.

Have a Backyard BBQ

Deck out your yard with red,white and blue accents, and invite friends and neighbors over for a cookout. Ema says you’ll be the hit of the ‘hood! But, to keep things as safe as possible, be sure to keep the grill outdoors in a well-ventilated area–and never leave it unattended. Use long-handled tools, avoid loose-fitting clothing, and keep kids and pets away while the grill is in use. Avoid leaving perishable foods in the sun where they can quickly go bad (because no one wants food poisoning for the 4th). When the burgers and hot dogs are done, ensure the grill is properly extinguished before enjoying the rest of the festivities.

Ask Ema

  • What are some good sides to pair with BBQ?

  • Can you suggest some different foods to try grilling?

  • How long are foods safe unrefrigerated?

  • Do you have some fun ideas for 4th of July desserts?

Watch a Fireworks Show

Many communities host a public fireworks display. Ema suggested checking local newspapers or searching online to find one near you. A quick Google search should point you in the right direction! Ideally, these public displays are the way to go because they are organized by professionals and closely monitored, making them much safer than the brown paper bag of bottle rockets you can pick up at one of those tents that sprung up back in early June. However, if you must go that route, follow local laws and never allow children to handle fireworks. Ensure that both kids and pets are at a safe distance before using any at-home fireworks, and keep a bucket of water and a hose nearby for emergencies and proper disposal.

Ask Ema

  • What is the best way to care for a mild burn?

  • Where can I find my local fireworks laws?

  • What are some safety tips for large crowds with small children?

Soak Up the Sun

Ema suggested playing outdoor games like cornhole and horseshoes, having a neighborhood patriotic parade, enjoying a picnic in the park or organizing an old-fashioned water balloon fight. These all sound like super fun traditions to incorporate into your plans for the 4th, but they all require being outside. And if there’s one thing that’s true about July, it’s HOT! Sun safety is incredibly important on those sunny summer days. Beat the heat by applying sunscreen regularly, seeking shade, and wearing protective (red, white and blue) clothing. It’s also crucial to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.

Ask Ema

  • What is the best SPF to use?

  • Do you have any tips for applying sunscreen to children?

  • What are signs of heat rash?

Patriotic Pets

While Fido may look fetch in his new star-spangled collar, his favorite holiday is probably not the one with the loud booms all night long. Keep pets safe indoors during fireworks, and try to keep them as calm as possible with their favorite toys and maybe some extra treats. Make sure their collar tags and microchips have the most up-to-date information in case they manage to escape. Avoid letting them get their paws on harmful foods like onions, chocolate, and alcohol.

Ask Ema

  • What other foods are harmful to pets?

  • How can I keep my pets calm during fireworks?

  • What is the most effective way to find a lost pet?

With these helpful tips and a little bit of pre-planning, you can have a safe and fun 4th of July instead of stressing about what could go wrong. From heartfelt conversations and belly laughs to the thrilling spectacle of fireworks illuminating the night sky, you’ll get to enjoy every moment right along with your loved ones.

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