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December 05, 2021

Where Every Family Matters

Kid and Pet Safety on the Fourth of July

We all want to have fun on Independence Day, so be sure you cover your bases at home, away, and with your pets, too.

The fourth of July is the pinnacle of long summer days, and with everybody wanting to have a good time, distraction will happen. Review these tips from the American Red Cross before the fourth to ensure you've got your family covered

 

KIDS & FAMILIES

FIREWORK'S SAFETY

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public firework show put on by professionals. Stay at least 500 feet away from the show. Leave any area immediately where untrained amateurs are using fireworks. If you are setting fireworks off at home, follow these safety steps:

  1. Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials. Always follow the instructions on the packaging.
  2. Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.
  3. Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.
  4. Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight "a dud."
  5. Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.

 

PICNIC SAFETY

  1. Don’t leave food out in the hot sun. Keep perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice or freezer gel packs.
  2. Wash your hands before preparing the food.
  3. If you are going to cook on a grill, always supervise the grill when in use. Don’t add charcoal starter fluid when coals have already been ignited. Use the long-handled tools especially made for cooking on the grill to keep the chef safe.
  4. Never grill indoors. Keep the grill out in the open, away from the house, the deck, tree branches, or anything that could catch fire. 
  5. Make sure everyone, including pets, stays away from the grill.

 

WATER SAFETY

Children and adults should learn to swim so they at least achieve the skills of water competency: be able to enter the water, get a breath, stay afloat, change position, swim a distance and then get out of the water safely. Watch the weather and get out of the water at the first sign of lightning or the rumble of thunder. Stay indoors and away from water for 30 minutes after the last lightning flashes or thunder roars.

Plan ahead for aquatic activities:

  1. Provide close and constant attention to children you are supervising in or near water
  2. Fence pools and spas with adequate barriers, including four-sided fencing
  3. Learn swimming and water survival skills
  4. Children, inexperienced swimmers, and all boaters should wear properly fitted U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets;
  5. Always swim in a lifeguarded area.

 

BEACH SAFETY

  1. If you plan to swim in the ocean, a lake or river, be aware that swimming in these environments is different than swimming in a pool. Be sure you have the skills for these environments.
  2. Swim only at a beach with a lifeguard, within the designated swimming area. Obey all instructions and orders from lifeguards and ask them about local conditions.
  3. Make sure you swim sober and that you always swim with a buddy. Know your limitations and make sure you have enough energy to swim back to shore.
  4. Protect your neck – don’t dive headfirst. Walk carefully into open waters. Watch out for and avoid aquatic life.
  5. If you are caught in a rip current, try not to panic. Signal to those on shore that you need assistance. Swim parallel to the shore until you are out of the current. Once you are free, swim toward shore. If you can't swim to the shore, float or tread water until you are free of the rip current and then head toward shore.

 

WATER PARK SAFETY

  1. Make sure lifeguards are on duty before you go in the water and follow all their instructions.
  2. Wear protective clothing, including a hat and some kind of cover-up for when you’ve had enough sun. Use sunscreen before leaving home and reapply during the day.
  3. Parents – keep an eye on the kids. If they can’t swim or are less than four feet tall, have them wear a U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket.
  4. Signal a lifeguard if you see someone is in trouble. Yell if you need to grab attention, but don’t go in after the person yourself.
  5. Set up a meeting place in case someone gets separated from your group. Use the buddy system to make sure no child is alone.

 

DOG SAFETY
from the ASPCA

  • Never use fireworks around pets! While exposure to lit fireworks can potentially result in severe burns and/or trauma to the face and paws of curious pets, even unused fireworks can pose a danger. Many types contain potentially toxic substances, including potassium nitrate, arsenic and other heavy metals.
     
  • Loud, crowded fireworks displays are no fun for pets, who can become frightened or disoriented by the sound. Please resist the urge to take them to Independence Day festivities, and opt instead to keep them safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.
     
  • Do not put glow jewelry on your pets, or allow them to play with it. While the luminescent substance contained in these products is not highly toxic, excessive drooling and gastrointestinal irritation could still result from ingestions, and intestinal blockage could occur from swallowing large pieces of the plastic containers.
     
  • Always keep matches and lighter fluid out of your pets’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which could potentially damage blood cells and result in difficulty breathing—or even kidney disease in severe cases. Lighter fluid can be irritating to skin, and if ingested can produce gastrointestinal irritation and central nervous system depression. If lighter fluid is inhaled, aspiration pneumonia and breathing problems could develop.
     
  • Keep citronella candles, insect coils and tiki torch oil products out of reach. Ingestion can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.

 

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About the Author

Susan Swindell Day

Susan Day is the editor in chief for this publication and the mom of four amazing kids.