Nothing can ruin a vacation or weekend celebration faster than an injury or accident. Here are some tips to keep you and your loved ones safe while you’re enjoying the festivities this 4th of July. Taking a moment to consider these safety precautions could even save a life!
Watch Meredith Spell, RN, New Hanover Regional Medical Center's Injury & Violence Prevention Coordinator, discussing fireworks safety in the video below.
Sparklers burn at about 2,000 degrees. That is an incredible amount of heat and the sparks flying off them often lead to burns on hands, arms, face, and eyes. Always help children hold them if you are going to use them and place them in water once they are burned down.
If it spins, leaves the ground, or flies through the air, it’s not legal in NC.
Don’t drink alcohol and then set off fireworks.
If someone is lighting fireworks, they should wear safety glasses and hand protection.
Read the labels, even if you’ve used the same type of firework in the past.
Make sure you have a water source nearby and ready for use if needed.
If you light a firework and it doesn’t go off, don’t try to light it again. Leave it alone for 20 min or more and then place it in water.
When viewing a fireworks show, wear hearing protection. Babies and small children especially should wear noise-cancelling headphones or ear plugs. Placing the earplugs correctly is just as important because they won’t properly protect your hearing if they aren’t in the right way.
- Never drink and operate a boat. It is illegal to operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This includes small vessels such as canoes or kayaks as well as jet skis, right up to large seafaring ships. Alcohol is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents.
- Always wear a life jacket. No one plans to fall off a boat or to capsize their vessel but it happens and wearing a life jacket can save your life. Children are required by law to wear a life jacket. Adult-sized life jackets will not work for children.
- Know your limits when going paddling. This applies to kayakers, standup paddle-boarders, canoers, etc. Paddling against the wind and/or tide can be more challenging than many paddlers anticipate. Keep apprised of tidal currents and keep a lookout for weather hazards. Stay close to the shore and remember you’ll have to paddle back so save energy for the return trip.
- Swim sober and always swim with a buddy.
- Many think they will hear their child splashing or calling for help if he or she is drowning. Often, this is not the case as most drownings are silent. Make sure someone is constantly watching children swimming even in very shallow water. More information about how to prevent drowning.
- Have young children wear a life jacket when playing near the water. A trip into the pool or an unexpectedly large wave could take them by surprise.
- Never dive in a shallow pool or headfirst into waves. It can be very challenging to determine the depth of the ocean floor due to its ever changing nature. You may be standing in deep water but a foot ahead of you may be a sandbar.
- Even when dead, jellyfish can be dangerous. Never touch them, kick them, or let children play with them if they have washed up on the sand.
- Be aware of the danger of rip currents and make sure older children who will be swimming know what to do if they are caught in one. Swim parallel to the shore until out of the current. Once free, turn and swim towards shore. Stay at least 100 ft away from piers or jetties because there are often rip currents in those areas.
- Wear shoes when walking on the sand. It becomes hot enough to burn feet quickly.
- Remember to drink plenty of water regularly even if you don’t feel thirsty while you’re outside in the heat. Avoid drinks with caffeine or alcohol. Make sure children drink plenty of water.
- Signs of heat stroke include hot or red skin, changes in consciousness, a weak pulse, and rapid or shallow breathing. If you suspect someone is suffering from heat stroke, call 9-1-1.
- Always wear sunscreen and reapply it every 45 minutes if you’re swimming or sweating. This is especially important for kids older than 6 months. Younger babies should stay in the share and wear a hat and light clothing.
- Protecting your eyes using sunglasses is important too. Sunglasses for children, babies, and even dogs are available and can protect eyes from damage on a sunny day.
Here are some additional safety tips for anyone planning to participate in motorsports activities.
If you have an emergency, please call 911. For more minor injuries or illnesses, such as sunburns, jellyfish stings, sprains, or colds, NHRMC Urgent Care has two convenient locations that are open 8 AM to 8 PM 7 days a week: