The Fourth of July is the warmest holiday of the year. Unfortunately, it is also the deadliest. This is in large part due to the amount of alcohol that is consumed on that special day. Now I don't want to be a downer and suggest you give up drinking entirely. However, it is wise to take a few precautions when you get ready to celebrate our nation's independence:
Driving - It goes without saying that you should not drink and drive. Try to designate a driver before you head out to a party. If you are hosting your own party, make sure your guests moderate their alcohol consumption and if they can't, don't let them drive. More DUI's (driving under the influence) are issued by the police on the Fourth of July than on any other day of the year!
Fireworks - These bad boys are fun but they can also be dangerous. Again, if you are drinking then stay away from the fire power. Leave it to a capable, and sober, pair of hands. Other rules to follow with fireworks are to always keep water close by, don't relight a dud, and don't carry fireworks in your pocket. Children have no business playing with fireworks. Even sparklers can be dangerous. If you allow them to play with sparklers, try the solo cup trick. Poke a hole in a solo cup and push the sparkler stick through the hole. Then have your child hold the sparkler while their hand is protected inside of the cup.
Grilling - This is similar to fireworks in that it can be quite dangerous in the wrong, or drunken, hands. If you are using a grill make sure it is not close to the house or anything that might be flammable. Also make sure you keep an eye on it in case the food ignites. Once you are done cooking, turn the flame off and shut the propane valve off as well.
Swimming - Pools and lakes tend to be much more crowded on the Fourth of July. This means parents need to be extra vigilant about watching their little ones play in the water. If you are drinking, you are more likely to forget about your kids, so try to moderate the alcohol. Also, if you or your children are unable to swim you might want to avoid the water altogether.
Pets - Animals can be extra sensitive to the loud noises of fireworks. If your dog or cat is sensitive then make plans ahead of time. You can try a thunder shirt, rescue remedy drops, or even a sedative prescribed by your vet to keep your animal calm. Make sure they are safe and comfortable so that when the booms begin they can't run off. If you have a dog, it's a good idea to get them out for a potty break while it's still daylight. Once the fireworks begin you won't be able to get them to budge!
Veterans - Please be aware that some veterans have post traumatic stress syndrome. This means they may react to the fireworks in a negative way. Try to be sensitive to their needs.
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