Share The Health

Tips for a Fun and Safe Fourth of July


There’s something special about the Fourth of July. It’s a celebration of patriotism, summer, and a perfect excuse to enjoy some delicious BBQ while spending time with family and friends. Of course, we can’t forget the fireworks. July Fourth is one of the best days of the year, and it’s typically the biggest party of the summer. But with fireworks and day-long parties comes the risk of injuries and burns. Here are some tips that can help make your July Fourth celebration one to remember for all the right reasons.

Fireworks Safety

We all love fireworks. They’re a beautiful and exciting way to top-off any July Fourth celebration. With all their glitter and shine, it is easy to forget that fireworks can be dangerous, especially if you aren’t an expert. When it comes to creating a safe environment for fireworks, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
  • Read all the cautionary labels and performance descriptions on the fireworks before setting them off.
  • Adults should supervise ALL firework activities and never let children use them.
  • Never drink while using fireworks. Alcohol and explosives don’t mix.
  • Wear safety glasses at all times.
  • Light one firework at a time and then move away from the area quickly.
  • Only use fireworks in clear, outdoor areas away from all buildings and vehicles.
  • If a firework doesn’t work, don’t try to relight it. Wait 20 minutes and then soak it in a bucket of ice water.
  • Keep a bucket of water and a charged water hose nearby.
  • Keep fireworks out of your pocket and never shoot them into metal or glass containers.
  • Do not use homemade fireworks.
  • After using a firework, wet it down and then place it inside a metal trash can away from any building or combustible materials until the next day.
  • FAA regulations prohibit the possession and transportation of fireworks in your checked baggage or carry-on luggage.
  • If you come across illegal explosives, like M-80s and quarter sticks, report them to your local fire or police department.

Children ages 5-9, followed by those ages 10-19, are at the highest risk of being injured by fireworks. About one in four fires started by fireworks each year are reported on July Fourth.

Don’t Forget Your Pets!

While we may look forward to July Fourth all year, our pets can sometimes dread it. Many dog owners are surely familiar with trying to calm down a frightened dog that’s just heard fireworks. It’s not just their barking we have to worry about; it’s their safety, too. To keep your pets safe during the holiday, keep these tips in mind:

  • Never bring your pets to a fireworks display, even if it’s a small one.
  • If fireworks are being used near your house, put your pets in a safe room where they feel secure and won’t hear the sound.
  • Be sure that your pets have identification tags, so they can be returned to you if they run off during a fireworks display.
  • Never shoot off fireworks of any kind, even those as small as sparklers, around your pets.

Fire Up the Grill

A Fourth of July celebration isn’t complete without a few hot dogs, hamburgers, and anything else you can think of to throw on the grill. It’s tradition, but like fireworks, it comes with significant risks. July sees more grill fires than any other month, and in 2014 16,600 patients went to emergency rooms due to injuries that involved grilling. Here’s how you can satisfy your guests’ appetites while practicing good grilling safety:

  • Only use propane and charcoal grills outdoors.
  • Place the grill away from your home, deck railings, and out from under overhanging branches.
  • Make sure children and pets are kept at a safe distance away from the grill.
  • Clean your grill regularly, and remove grease and fat buildup from the grates and trays.
  • While cooking, stay next to your grill and never leave it unattended.

No matter how careful we are, accidents sometimes happen. If you or someone close to you suffers from burns over the July Fourth holiday, make sure you have a plan in place to treat them.

Treating Burns

There are three types of burns: first-degree burns, second-degree burns, and third-degree burns. A first-degree burn is a superficial burn to the top layer of skin that can typically be treated at home; a second-degree burn is a more serious injury affecting deeper layers of skin; and a third-degree burn is a serious injury that affects all layers of the skin. Each burn type requires different forms of treatment.

Treatment for first-degree burns requires soaking the wound in cool water for five minutes or longer. Take the recommended amount of acetaminophen or ibuprofen, apply aloe gel or cream to soothe the skin, and apply antibiotic ointment or loose gauze to protect the burned area. When treating second-degree burns, call your healthcare provider if severe pain persists, you notice signs of infection, there’s skin disruption with discolored tissue present, or your condition worsens. If you’ve suffered a third-degree burn, call 911 immediately. A person suffering from third-degree burns may have trouble breathing, burns covering more than one body part, and suspected burns to their airway.

Have a Fun-filled Fourth!

For more information on how you and your family can enjoy a Fourth of July free of any accidents, check out Frederick County’s website on fireworks safety. Frederick Memorial Hospital wishes everyone a happy Fourth of July. Enjoy the fireworks, food, and family, and remember to put safety first!