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Fourth of July Popsicles, Independence Day

Keep Your Fourth of July Celebration Fun & Safe

By Kristy Warren


Independence Day celebrations on the fourth of July often mark the first cookout event or party of the summer season. With warm sunshine and time off to spend with family and friends, there's a good reason many consider it the official start of summer fun. 


We’re all eager to make the most of our summer, but July 4th is nicknamed "the most dangerous holiday of the year" for a reason. From fireworks burns and accidental fires to heat stroke and car / boat crashes, it's an injury prone holiday.


Keep these simple safety tips in mind to enjoy your Independence Day celebration safely. 




  • Take precautions to protect pets and young children. Loud noises from fireworks and parties can frighten, confuse, and hurt the ears of animals and young children, causing them to cower in fear, cry, or attempt to run away. Never use fireworks near your pets or young children, as they may run into harm's way. If you'll be attending an Independence Day event with fireworks or loud music, keep your pet at home indoors in a quiet, escape-proof area and either bring ear protection for little ones or arrange for a babysitter so you can attend the event without them. 

  • If you'll be having fun outdoors, plan your outdoor activities for early or late in the day when the sun is less intense (generally before 10 am or after 4 pm). Protect yourself with a hat, sunglasses, and broad-spectrum sunscreen. 

  • Don’t lose track of time. Time flies when you’re having fun, so remember to take breaks in the shade or indoors to cool down. Remember to reapply sunscreen after swimming and approximately every 2 hours to avoid painful sunburns, as SPF protection rubs off via swimming, time, friction, absorption, and sweating. It's also important not to leave food sitting out too long, especially in the heat, as it increases the risk of foodborne illness.

  • Stay hydrated. Party favorites like soda, alcohol, and sugary fruit punch dehydrate the body. Reach for water instead, especially in high heat and when working up a sweat! Do not imbibe alcohol when handling fireworks or when boating (a leading cause of drowning deaths). Designate a sober driver to safely get people home. 

  • Know the signs of heat illness. Be on the lookout for any signs of heat stroke like dizziness, nausea, confusion, headaches, rapid pulse, or fainting. Heat stroke can be fatal. If someone appears to be suffering from heat stroke, move them to a cool location and call 911.

  • Treat fireworks with care. Always follow the instructions carefully and closely supervise children / teenagers—even a simple sparkler can cause painful burns or start a devastating fire. It's also important to remember that not everyone enjoys fireworks and may wish to avoid that aspect of the festivities. The loud sounds and bright explosions can trigger combat flashbacks for veterans and other people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or sound sensitivities. 

  • Play it safe. If your Fourth of July gathering includes people who have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, staying physically distanced (i.e., six feet apart) while wearing masks and having your event outdoors are the safest ways to celebrate. With Tioga County's low vaccination rate, not enough of our population has been immunized to avoid the risk of infecting a large group of people. It is still best to avoid large indoor events. If attending an event, follow recommended illness prevention measures, do not share utensils or food, and make sure to wash your hands regularly with soap & water for 20 seconds. If you can’t make it to a sink, use hand sanitizer.


For more health and summer safety tips, stay tuned to our news page or visit us at facebook.com/laurelhc.