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Family, Fun and Fireworks: July 4th Celebration Safety

Family, Fun and Fireworks: July 4th Celebration Safety

This weekend will be filled with fireworks, cook outs, and American pride as we celebrate Independence Day! It’s a welcomed celebration for many, as most holiday events were cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

As we gather safely to celebrate, let’s remember some important safety and health tips.

Fireworks Safety Month

July is appropriately named Fireworks Safety Month by the CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. Fireworks can exceed 150 decibels, which is loud enough to cause hearing loss after long-term exposure.

CDC Infographic

Here are some tips to help prevent hearing loss around fireworks:

  • Wear earplugs or earmuffs if setting off fireworks at home.
  • If a firecracker explodes near your ear, you could experience immediate hearing damage.
  • Explosive sounds like fireworks are more hazardous to hearing than other loud noise.
  • To protect your hearing, be sure to enjoy the show from a safe distance.
  • Make hearing protection a family affair. Going to a fireworks show together this summer? Everyone should wear earplugs or earmuffs to protect their hearing.
  • Fireworks and other loud noises can cause hearing loss. If you notice any pain, discomfort, ringing, or buzzing in your ears, talk to your doctor.

Hearing loss isn’t the only concern when it comes to fireworks. Remember, fireworks can cause serious burn and eye injuries. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission provides these safety tips for handling, discharging, and disposing fireworks:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays, not for home use.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Young children can suffer injuries from sparklers, which burn at temperatures of around 2,000 degrees.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.

UV Safety Awareness Month

July is also UV (Ultraviolet) Safety Awareness Month. We all love those warm summer rays, but it's important to protect your skin and eyes from the sun's damaging effects. Here are some tips from the CDC on sun protection. 

Shade. You can reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer by staying in the shade under an umbrella, a tree, or other shelter. 

Clothing. When possible, wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants and skirts, which can provide protection from UV rays. If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, try to wear a T-shirt or a beach cover-up. Clothes made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. A wet T-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one, and darker colors may offer more protection than lighter colors. 

Hat. For the most protection, wear a hat that has a brim all the way around that shades your face, ears, and the back of your neck. A tightly woven fabric, such as canvas, works best to protect your skin from UV rays. Avoid straw hats with holes that let sunlight through. A darker hat may offer more UV protection.

Sunglasses. Sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and reduce the risk of cataracts. They also protect the tender skin around your eyes from sun exposure. Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. 

Sunscreen. Put on broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays and has an SPF of 15 or higher before you go outside. Don’t forget to put a thick layer on all exposed skin. Get help for hard-to-reach places like your back. And remember, sunscreen works best when combined with other options.

SPF. Sunscreens are assigned a sun protection factor (SPF), which is a number that rates how well they block UV rays. Higher numbers indicate more protection. You should use a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF of 15 or higher.

Reapplication. Sunscreen wears off. Put it on again if you stay out in the sun for more than 2 hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Expiration date. Check the sunscreen’s expiration date. Sunscreen without an expiration date has a shelf life of no more than 3 years. Its shelf life is shorter if it has been exposed to high temperatures.

Traveling for the Holiday Weekend?

There are several steps you can take to stay healthy and safe if you’re traveling this summer. Click here to read our blog “Tips for a Healthy, Safe Summer Vacation”. Included are tips for sunscreen, tick prevention, and COVID-19 precautions.

Resources:

Here are some additional resources to help keep your Fourth of July weekend fun, safe, and memorable!

Fireworks Safety Month! | CDC.gov

Fireworks Information Center | U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission