With the Fourth of July here, the Arkansas Department of Health says it’s a good time to learn about firework, food and swim safety.
Fireworks — Fireworks-related injuries are most common on the Fourth of July. Improper use of fireworks can lead to death and injury, including burns, cuts, and foreign objects in the eye. To prevent injury, keep these safety tips in mind:
• Read all labels and instructions before igniting.
• A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities.
• Use fireworks outdoors in a clear area, away from buildings and vehicles.
• Dispose of spent fireworks by wetting them down and placing them in a metal trash can away from any building or flammable materials.
• Never give fireworks to children.
• Never shoot fireworks of any kind near pets.
• Obey all local laws regarding the use of fireworks.
Food — Due to a variety of factors, including warmer temperatures, foodborne illness increases in summer. When handling food during the holiday, stay healthy and safe by using these tips:
• Use an insulated cooler filled with ice or frozen gel packs when bringing food to a picnic or cookout.
• A full cooler will maintain its cold temperature longer than a partially filled one.
• Avoid opening a cooler repeatedly so that your food stays colder longer.
• In hot weather (above 90 °F), food should never sit out for more than one hour.
• Serve cold food in small portions, and keep the rest in the cooler.
• After cooking meat and poultry on the grill, keep it hot until served – at 140 °F or warmer.
• Keep hot food hot by setting it to the side of the grill rack, not directly over the coals where they could overcook.
Swimming — Every day in the United States, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning. Two of these ten are children aged 14 or younger. Keep these tips in mind, so you and your loved ones can swim safely:
• Take part in formal swimming lessons to reduce the risk of drowning among children aged 1 to 4 years old.
• Designate a responsible adult to watch young children while swimming or playing in or around water.
• Because drowning occurs quickly and quietly, adults should not be involved in any other distracting activity (such as reading, playing cards, talking on the phone, or mowing the lawn) while supervising children, even if lifeguards are present.
• Don’t use air-filled or foam toys, such as “water wings,” “noodles,” or inner-tubes instead of life jackets. These toys are not life jackets and are not designed to keep swimmers safe.
• Avoid drinking alcohol before or during swimming, boating, or water skiing.
For more information regarding injury prevention, visit www.healthy.arkansas.gov.